2011 NextEra Energy Resources 250
|Race 1 of 25 in the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season|
Map of the speedway
|Date||February 18, 2011|
|Location||Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida|
Permanent racing facility|
2.5 mi (4.02336 km)
|Distance||100 laps, 250 mi (402.336 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching up to 81 °F (27 °C); wind speeds up to 7 miles per hour (11 km/h)|
|Average speed||130.025 miles per hour (209.255 km/h)|
|Driver||Richard Childress Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||James Buescher||Turner Motorsports|
|No. 15||Michael Waltrip||Vision Aviation Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Rick Allen, Phil Parsons, Darrell Waltrip|
The 2011 NextEra Energy Resources 250 was a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race held at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on February 18, 2011. The race was the first of the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing won the pole position, while Michael Waltrip of Vision Aviation Racing won.
46 trucks entered the race. Todd Bodine led the first practice session with a top speed of 193.175 miles per hour (310.885 km/h), while Cole Whitt led the second and final with a speed of 191.026 mph (307.427 km/h). Qualifying was held on February 17. Austin Dillon clinched the pole position with a lap speed of 179.047 mph (288.148 km/h), his eighth-career Truck Series pole. Following Dillon was James Buescher, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Ricky Carmichael and rookie Johanna Long, while the top ten closed with Elliott Sadler, Matt Crafton, Joey Coulter, Johnny Sauter and Brad Sweet. Nelson Piquet, Jr. initially qualified fourth, but, along with Aric Almirola, were disqualified after post-qualifying inspection when it was revealed that their trucks were too low, and were forced to start from the rear. Rick Crawford, Cole Whitt, Tayler Malsam, Chris Eggleston, Alli Owens, Mike Skinner, Jamie Dick, Brent Raymer, Grant Enfinger and Clay Greenfield failed to qualify. Although Skinner was eligible for the past champion's provisional, due to being the 1995 series champion, his team, Eddie Sharp Racing, failed to enter the race in time.
James Buescher led the first 55 laps, and on lap 37, rookie Joey Coulter cut down a tire and crashed into the turn 2 wall, bringing out the first caution of the race. On the second caution for Donnie Neuenberger's bed cover falling off the truck in turn 4, Timothy Peters took the lead after taking only fuel on lap 56, followed by Ricky Carmichael and Buescher. On lap 66, Justin Marks' hood loosened and covered the windshield, causing him to crash into turn 1. The green flag flew from lap 70 to 75, when Travis Kvapil's tire blew and hit five trucks, while Neuenberger, who was running in the back, failed to slow down in time and collided with other trucks; altogether, 14 trucks (Kvapil, Neuenberger, Max Papis, Matt Crafton, Todd Bodine, Johnny Sauter, Ron Hornaday Jr., Johanna Long, Justin Lofton, Brendan Gaughan, T. J. Bell, Jason White, Craig Goess and Jennifer Jo Cobb) were involved. On lap 85, the caution was flown after Lofton crashed into David Starr. The green flag flew from lap 89 to 97, when Aric Almirola collided with Brad Sweet, creating a nine-truck crash also involving Austin Dillon, Papis, Kyle Busch, Parker Kligerman, Bodine, Chris Fontaine and Buscher. As a result, officials stopped the race for ten minutes to clean up, and the 100-lap race was extended to initiate a green-white-checker finish.
Sometime during the lap under caution before the final restart, the right half of Waltrip's rear spoiler collapsed and fell flat, greatly reducing the aerodynamic drag on his truck that the spoiler is designed to do at Daytona, to limit top speed and encourage drafting. This suddenly gave his truck a prohibitive advantage. On the final lap, Waltrip pushed Elliott Sadler far ahead of the pack, and with his illegally advantaged truck, easily passed him on his outside in the final yards to claim his first Truck Series win, becoming the 22nd driver to win in all three of NASCAR's top series (Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Trucks). The win was on the ten-year anniversary of Waltrip's first career NASCAR Cup Series win in the 2001 Daytona 500, which was also the site of Waltrip's team owner Dale Earnhardt's death. Clay Rogers, Miguel Paludo and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five, followed by Cobb (the highest finish by a woman in the Truck Series, and the first top 10 by a female in NASCAR's top three series), Jeffrey Earnhardt, Carmichael, Buescher and Crafton.
In victory lane, Waltrip stated:
|“||This day, it was hard. I've been emotional all day long. It's been really emotional. I just was determined to win the race for him. So I'm drained. I'm thankful. I didn't come here to celebrate winning the 2001 Daytona 500. I came here to celebrate Dale's life and honor him.||”|
Afterwards, NASCAR confiscated Waltrip's rear spoiler, half of it having fallen; NASCAR reported it to be a failure, but continued to examine it. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp stated, "It appeared to be a failed part. The spoiler broke on the green-white-checkered finish. Our typical procedure is, instead of having an immediate reaction, we'll take a look and, if necessary, we'll have whatever reaction is appropriate the first of the week." Eventually, the team was revealed to have "violated Sections 12–1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules), and 20B-3.1.2E (rear spoiler did not meet specifications in post-race inspection)". Vision Aviation Racing owner Billy Ballew was penalized 25 owner points, while crew chief Doug Howe was fined $25,000, and was placed on probation for the remainder of the year. As Waltrip was not competing for Truck Series points, he was not penalized any drivers points.
Standings after the race
- Weather information for the 2011 NextEra Energy Resources 250 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
- "Final Practice Session Speeds". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- "THE RACE: DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY – NextEra Energy Resources 250". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- "Dillon Takes Daytona Truck Pole". Motor Racing Network. February 17, 2011. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- Associated Press (February 17, 2011). "Austin Dillon wins pole for Trucks race". ESPN. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- Smith, Steven Cole (February 18, 2011). "Michael Waltrip wins crash-filled NextEra trucks race at Daytona". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- Sporting News (February 20, 2011). "WALTRIP CLAIMS EMOTIONAL VICTORY AT DAYTONA". NASCAR. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- "2011 NextEra Energy Resources 250". Racing-Reference. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- Associated Press (February 19, 2011). "Michael Waltrip wins Trucks race". ESPN. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- Bromberg, Nick (February 23, 2011). "Truck driven to win by Michael Waltrip penalized for spoiler issue". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- Pockrass, Bob (February 25, 2011). "Michael Waltrip crew chief fined $25,000 for spoiler violation in Daytona truck race". Sporting News. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- "2011 NextEra Energy Resources 250 qualifying results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved January 10, 2014.