The Daytona 500 once again “The Great American Story.”

I’m a sucker for a great story. To me, great stories are what make racing so interesting to me.  This year’s Daytona 500 had three of them.

Sam Cranston-Nascar llustratedThe first great story was that of Brian Keselowski. I’ve known Brian for several years and talk to him whenever I can at the race track.  I know how hard he works to stay in the sport he loves and how he struggles each and every week just to show up.

During the second Gatorade Duel at Daytona, Brian’s younger brother Brad, who is now a star Nascar driver for Roger Penske, pushed Brian into a qualifying spot for the Daytona 500.

Suddenly, the plain white car with the #92 on it and a crew of the driver, father and a friend were in the Daytona 500.

Roger Penske stepped up offering an engine. Ray Evernham, whose two year old chassis Keselowski was driving, offered to buy tires. During the first pit stop in the Daytona 500, the fueler from the A.J. Allmendinger Best Buy team did his normal job for Keselowski.  This indeed was the vaunted Nascar family at work!

63606742Then, in the Daytona 500, rookie Trevor Bayne in just his second ever Nascar Sprint Cup race, held off a hard charging Carl Edwards and won the race. This put the once dominant car owners the Wood Brothers back into victory lane after several years of struggles and even not qualifying for the Daytona 500.

Every fan in attendance at Daytona was up cheering the victory, no matter there driver allegiance. Even the media, who aren’t suppose to cheer, did because this was a great American story and showed perseverance by good people does pay off.

I got to sit down with Trevor Bayne, Eddie and Len Wood and crew chief Donnie Wingo the morning after the Daytona 500. They were all walking on air as well they should be for quite a long time.

I’ve talked to Brian Keselowski since he raced in the Daytona 500 and being involved in the “Big One” that ended his day early.  He’s back working on his car and trying to find that one extra dollar that can keep him on the track.  He’s still smiling and upbeat as he always has been even when his struggles seemed almost impossible to overcome.

The 53rd Daytona 500 may be remembered for it’s exciting finish but I’ll remember it more for the people and their story.

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