Thoughts on the Daytona 500

This past weekend I was so excited about the Daytona 500 and the start of the 2010 NASCAR season that I didn’t know what to do w/ myself.  The fact that Mark Martin, my favorite driver, who is also a client, qualified on the pole for the race didn’t help the matter any either.  By the time the pre-race coverage was winding down on Speed and it was time to flip over to Fox to watch the race I was literally chomping at the bit, whatever that means I was doing it.

New Rule Changes for 2010

For the most part I enjoyed the race. The rule changes implemented by NASCAR giving us more opportunities to see Green-White-Checker finishes this year as well as the promise to let drivers be more expressive with their emotions are going to make for a fun season this year.  Some other changes this year was the re-introduction of the tail-wing on the COT’s and larger holes in the restrictor plates for the superspeedways.  I think these two changes to the cars were responsible for a lot of the close racing we witnessed this weekend.

We Have Bigger Potholes than that on I-40…

Honestly the only thing that bothered me about the race this weekend was probably the same thing that aggravated every other racing fan out there, we got to sit there for over 2 hours at 2 different points of the race and literally watch bondo dry on the asphalt while repair crews repaired a pothole in one of the turns.  David Reutiman brought up a good point during one of the long red flags, dirt track racers aren’t strangers to holes on the track, you just remember where these holes are and go around them.  I think NASCAR should have at least inspected the track before hand and noticed this place prior to the race.  It’s hard for me to believe that these cars knocked this hole in the asphalt during the Cup Series race, it had to have at least been started earlier in the week, and somewhat evident during the 24 hour race a few days earlier. 

Congratulations to Jamie McMurray…

All complaining aside, the ending of the race was well worth the wait, even though Mark Martin didn’t win.  The sentimental winner of the race was Jamie McMurray. Here’s a guy who at the end of last season was released by Roush-Fenway Racing due to the limitations mandated by NASCAR as to how many teams an owner could have under one organization, not even sure if he would have a ride or not for 2010, finally secures a position w/ Ganassi-Sabates-Earnhardt Racing on their team, ironically the team that brought him into the series as a rookie, and low and behold he repays them by bringing home the most coveted trophy in NASCAR. 

Emotions Running High in Victory Circle…

When Jamie pulled into the winners circle I knew it was going to be an emotional thing, just given the history of Jamie McMurray.  A lot of people, myself included, had more or less written him off after his less than stellar performance at Roush-Fenway.  When Jamie got out of the car he was greeted by his dad and then interviewed standing in winners circle.  About 30 seconds into the interview he just breaks down and starts balling, a few moments later his wife shows up behind him and they embrace for a few minutes before Jamie returns to the interview.  He was so emotional that even I got choked up watching, and that rarely happens.  This was the type of show that NASCAR needed to put on to kick off the season in my opinion. 

It’s Perfectly Acceptable for a Dude to Cry When He Has Just Won the Daytona 500…

Now, regarding how emotional Jamie was in winners circle, I know that there are a lot of people out there that probably were turned off by that.  I can see where you are coming from.  Back when we all watched Tim Tebow sit on the sideline while Florida was defeated by Alabama, I told a lot of my Twitter friends that there was only two acceptable times for a football player to cry on the field, one was when you can see your own bone sticking through your leg, and the other time is when you are holding the championship trophy up over your head and the season is over.  Well, in that same vein, there’s not a lot of room in NASCAR for men who cry on national television, but given Jamie McMurray’s story I am going to give him a pass on that.  In fact, a few of my tweeps and I had a discussion following the race on Twitter and decided to make an amendment to our man code to also make it acceptable to cry when you are in victory lane at The Daytona 500 too.

Did you see Dale Jr.?

One other thing that I think is worth of mentioning about the last lap of the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr., the guy that everyone likes to speculate and worry about, came from 10th place to finish in 2nd place.  Let’s all hope that the chemistry is right this season for Dale Jr. to have a competitive season.

What did you think of the race? 
I would love to hear your thoughts, be sure to leave comments below…
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