The Excitement of the Beginning

For as long as I can remember Daytona has always marked the beginning. The commencement of the NASCAR season has begun at the famed racetrack since 1982. Even the word Daytona brings forth memories of legions. Great race car drivers sped through the corners of this hallowed asphalt and one great racer even lost his life there. The Florida weather can be fickle over the World Center of Racing, but for February 2016 the pleasant Spring days flowed with no end. Here's some of my favorite pictures from the long weekend. All images here are Copyrighted by Action Sports Photography Inc. ©2016

The mirror like windows in Victory Lane reflect the grandstands filled with people

"NO BRAKES" reminds Brennan Poole, driver of the number 48 DC Solar Chevy, to drive without fear while qualifying.

Brennan Poole sits in his race car ready to head out onto the track for practice

Kyle Larson getting into the #42 Eneos Chevy.  Preparing for an Xfinity practice session.

Darrell Wallace Jr shows off his Nixon watch as he backs the #6 Selfeo Ford out of the garage

The colors of Darrell Wallace Jr's #6 Selfeo Ford were fantastic in the light of the garage

The #16 Lilly Diabetes Ford of Ryan Reed waits patiently to head onto the track

The #2 Rheem Chevy, driven by Austin Dillon, leads the pack down the front strait during the Xfinity race

The Lilly Diabetes pit crew change tires for Ryan Reed during the Xfinity Race at Daytona

Chase Elliott stands in front of the Chevy on the start / finish line celebrating his victory in the Xfinity race.  Chase's race car had run out of fuel and had to be pushed back to Victory Lane.

A few of the events during the weeks of racing at Daytona take place at night which gives the whole affair some extra magic and mystery

Sprint cars wiz by the Daytona sign crossing the start / finish line under the flag stand during one of the Can Am Duels

The 5-Hour Energy Chevy of Clint Bowyer gets its tires changed during a pit stop during the Can Am Race

The #1 McDonalds / Cessna Chevy driven by Jamie McMurray speeds down the front stretch during the Can Am Duel

Fans write well wishes, happy birthdays, and cheers for their favorite drivers on the checkered finish line.

NASCAR fans are special people. They love to be involved and to get onto the track right where their heroes will be risking life and reputation for that last ounce of speed.

Kurt Busch gently places his hand on the Monster Energy / Haas Chevy and looks deep into the soul of the fire breathing racecar before he heads out to the track.

Fans look on and snap pictures from behind the viewing area of the garage as Kurt Busch climbs into his racecar

Trevor Bayne collects his thoughts behind the wheel of the #6 Advocare Ford before heading out to the track

The line of Toyota Tundras wait for the signal to pick up the drivers after they have been announced for a parade lap around Daytona

Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann's Chevy, waves to the crowd as he is taken to his racecar for the start of the Daytona 500

Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Jimmie Johnson lead the pack through turn one of the Daytona 500.

Denny Hamlin leads the field in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota as he enters turn one during the Daytona 500

The Prize!  The wining trophy for the Daytona 500 waits in Victory Lane for the best driver of the day to come and claim it.

In a photo finish, that was the closest in Daytona history, Denny Hamlin won his first Daytona 500 just beating Martin Truex Jr. to the finish line.

As the smoke from the celebratory burnout of Denny Hamlin cleared, the #11 FedEx Express Toyota sat proudly on the infield Daytona sign claiming its place in Daytona history.

Congratulations to Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, FedEx, and Toyota!

All images here are copyrighted by Action Sports Photography Inc. ©2016