League News and Notes
Daytona 500 Recap: Thomas Tolbert & Randy Thompson survive to claim victory!
February 18, 2018
After watching the Duel races, it felt like this was going to be a wreck filled Daytona 500, and it was. There were several big wrecks that claimed a lot of the fastest cars. The big wreck in Stage 2 claimed Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott, two of the top contenders, and officially ended Danica Patrick's time in NASCAR. Ryan Blaney led over 100 laps, but couldn't keep the lead after a late restart, caused by a spinning William Byron.
In the first overtime, Aric Alimorla jumped out ahead of Denny Hamlin and looked to be crusing to his 1st Daytona 500 victory, when Austin Dillon dumped him going into turn 3. Whether or not you thought it was a dirty move, or just plate racing will probably depend on if you like the Dillon's or not. Almirola to his credit did not blame Dillon in his post race interview. So there's that. Austin Dillon gets his 2nd career win, and his 1st Daytona 500, exactly 17 years to the day that Dale Earnhard was killed at Daytona. Seemed like Fox didn't mention that at all today.
Race Rating: B+
In the league this week...
The first pole of the year goes to Chris Hodge.
Duel Race 1: Brandon Braswell
Duel Race 2: Tiffany Steele
Stage 1: Tom Kerr & Lee Caputo
Stage 2: Joey Cochran
Your race winners this week are Thomas Tolbert and Randy Thompson. This was the 1st Daytona 500 win for both guys. It was the 12th career win for Thomas, and the 1st career win for Randy. Congratulations, Randy, not a bad race to get your 1st win. Thomas has now won 3 of the "Majors" in NASCAR (2014 Southern 500, 2015 Brickyard 400). After taking a two year break, Randy comes back with avengence and looks like he's ready to contend for the big prize.
After one race, the overal standings match the segment standings.
One race down, 35 more to go. Next week they go to Atlanta, for the first 1.5 mile track of the year. Should be a little different than the wreck fest at Daytona. We'll see how the new Camaro does on a regular track, and if the Ford's are still getting outperformed.
The 2018 will go back to the non-playoff format from years past.
January 7, 2017
This year's edition of BFNL will not feature the playoff format from the 2017 season. We will follow the traditional year-long format of years past. I feel like this format more properly recognizes those folks who played well all season, not just during the playoffs.
Homestead Recap: Michael Byrom wins the Championship & the race (Butch Rorie also ties for the race win)
November 19, 2017
Martin Truex Jr. is your 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Champion. Wouldn't have imagined myself typing that sentence a couple years ago. Truex racked up 8 wins, including the season finale at Homestead, holding off Kyle Busch to lock up his 1st Title. It was actually a pretty good race. No questionable cautions, no bad penalty calls...although it was obvious that Kyle Larson stopped trying to pass Busch/Truex at the end...not sure if that was just sportsmanship or if NASCAR told him to do it.
In the end, the best team this year won the Championship. That's not always going to be the case with this format, but for the most part I think fans will generally be okay with Truex as the Champion. Now that he's won it, they can stop with all the underdog & adversity storylines and just focus on the racing.
I would be remiss not to mention that today was Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s last race, as well as Matt Kenseth's. Kenseth will probably always be one of those overlooked Champions, because he wasn't flashy and he didn't do a lot to draw attention to himself. He even had a commercial where they made fun of him for being a robot (a winning robot). But Matt Kenseth was lowkey one of the best drivers in NASCAR history. He had one amazing year, where he dominated (but didn't win a lot) and it gave Brian France the opportunity to introduce "The Chase". He won multiple Daytona 500's, and was a threat to win the title every year. He came into the series the same year as Dale Earnhardt Jr.
A Cup Series Title eluded Junior during his career. He really only had a decent shot at winning it one time (2004). He suffered through a declining DEI relationship, and lost some of his prime years to mediocrity. Never the less, he still won 24 races including 2 Daytona 500's. Not too shabby. I never much cared for Junior early on in his career. But he matured over the years, and opened up. He became less of the sullen, spoiled kid he seemed when he started, and more of a thoughtful person who told it like it was. He's a great Twitter follow, btw.
NASCAR will be worse off having lost Dale Jr. and Kenseth this year. Danica Patrick will be hanging up her gloves after the Daytona 500. Last year, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards all stepped away. This is definately a time of transition for NASCAR. Hopefully the leadership has a plan.
Race Rating: A-
In the league this week...
Your pole winner at Homestead was Brooks Deaton This was Brooks' only pole of the year.
Stage 1: Dennis Williams(5th of the year)
Stage 2: Jason Hollingsworth, Chris Faulk & Corey Jones
We had a tie this week, between Michael Byrom & Butch Rorie. Michael almost become the 2nd Champion to go winless (Kelly Feimster, 2009), but locked up his only win the season finale. This was Butch's only win this year, but his 2nd win at Homestead, tying him for the most all-time.
The final segment of the year goes to Joey Cochran.
As for the championship standings...
Michael Byrom is your 2017 Champion. He won the most important race of the year, and in the end it wasn't even that close, has Truex/Ky. Busch went 1-2 and he blew away his competitors. I would say this is a fitting end to the season, Byrom was the most consistent all year long, even though he didn't have the wins, he had 15 top 10's, the most in the league. Byrom becomes the 10th different Champion in the 19 years of the league. Going into 2018, he'll be loooking to become the first person to repeat as Champion since Bob Francis in 2013.
Manish Nagpal came into the final race holding a nice lead, but unfortunately was not able to hold on. This is Manish's 2nd runner-up finish in the league, but I would expect him to rebound next year and be a threat to win it all.
Thomas Tolbert earns a podium finish for the 3rd straight year, something very few people have ever done in the history of the league. Thomas pulled off a minor miracle, winning at Charlotte to keep his hopes alive, but ultimately came up just short. Great season though.
Bob Francis pulled up a bit short at the finish line, but another Top 5 standings finish for the 3-time champion.
The 2017 Post-Season Payouts
Now the moment you've been waiting for...here's the folks that won money this year...
|2017 Champion||$400||Michael Byrom|
|2nd Place||$200||Manish Nagpal|
|3rd Place||$150||Thomas Tolbert|
|4th Place||$100||Bob Francis|
|5th Place||$50||Tim Laney|
|6th Place||$25||Jason Hollingsworth|
|7th Place||$25||Joey Cochran|
|8th Place||$25||Brandon Braswell|
|9th Place||$25||Brooks Deaton|
|10th Place||$25||Larry Braswell|
|Regular Season Champion||$100||Michael Byrom|
|Kurt Busch Award (Most Playoff Points)||$50||Tim Laney|
|Junior Johnson Award (Best One Race Score)||$25||Greg Camden|
|Bill Elliott Award (Crown Jewel Races)||$25||Gary Bolen|
|Brad Keselowski (Most Improved Player)||$25||Jennifer Frahm|
|Ned Jarrett Award (Largest Win Margin)||$25||Gary Bolen|
|Davey Allison (Southern Legacy Tracks)||$25||Keith Williams|
|Segment 1||$25||Manish Nagpal|
|Segment 2||$25||Chris Summerville|
|Segment 3||$25||Tom Kerr|
|Segment 4||$25||Dennis Rorie|
|Segment 5||$25||Chris Studley|
|Segment 6||$25||Brad Calhoun|
|Segment 7||$25||Brad Steele|
|Segment 8||$25||Tim Laney|
|Segment 9||$25||Nick Prytula|
|Segment 10||$25||Joey Cochran|
That's all there is...there ain't no more. We are off until February and the Daytona 500.