The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: 2010 Daytona 500 by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday February 15, 2010

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: 2010 Daytona 500

Matt McLaughlin · Monday February 15, 2010

 

The Key Moment: Greg Biffle gave his friend and former teammate Jamie McMurray a vital push down the backstretch on the final lap to propel the No. 1 car to the win.

In a Nutshell: Daytona International: Putting the “Car” back in “Carnage.”

Dramatic Moment: Kevin Harvick’s take no prisoners move to the inside on the restart following the eighth caution wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s headlong charge from tenth to second on the final lap had the fans on their feet.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

If the Daytona 500 is indeed the “Super Bowl” of racing, as some term it, having the field of play come apart in the middle of the race is completely unacceptable. So the folks that own it might be ready to repave it in 2012 after a mere 34 years? They could have saved themselves some egg on the face and done it after last year’s Firecracker 400.

Wasn’t it Jeff Gordon who ran crying to NASCAR saying they needed to clamp down on bump drafting? It occurs to me he wrecked Greg Biffle out on the final lap of the Shootout, then wiped out Kasey Kahne on one of the many final restarts of the 500. But in an ugly case of what goes around, comes around, it was Gordon who wound up wrecked on the race’s final lap.

Bigger restrictor plates? Somewhere up there, Dale Earnhardt the Original is flashing that infamous grin. Now, if they’ll just fix the tracks and get rid of the plates altogether, they might really be onto something. It was telling that all three networks covering Speedweeks continuously showed the “pre-restricted” finishes of the 1976 and 1979 500s as the best ever.

Maybe there is hope for NASCAR on FOX after all? The opening round of the season was notably lighter on lame comedy bits and gimmicks (Face it…you were dreading Hammond and Myers in the hot tub for Valentine’s Day again). It was a full 52 minutes before Little Digger made his first appearance, and while the cartoon vermin made an occasional cameo, it was without vocals and uncommented upon by the boys in the booth. There was actually some intelligent discussion of racing early in the broadcast, too – although faced with a couple hours of dead air to fill during the two red flags, things quickly spun back out of control.

To be fair, since I harped on it last season it did seem like the crowd for all the events during Speedweeks was bigger than last year’s. My guess is that was in large part due to the Hellish Apocalyptic winter those of us here in the Northeast are enduring. Florida might not have been the tropical respite that some fans were hoping for, but at least you don’t have to shovel rain. (Ironically, the Winter Olympics are being hampered by a lack of snow. Vancouver, if you need snow, send the dump trucks and skid steers here. The only grass I’ve seen this month was being smoked in a buddy’s basement.)

In another nod to the fans’ wishes in the aftermath of the Bud Shootout, NASCAR quickly adopted a new rule wherein there will be three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish to have races finish under green. Hoo-ray! Nice job, NASCAR – although I’m not sure they should be using the rules at Daytona or Talladega. Given the nature of restrictor plate races, it would seem that’s a prescription for six hour marathons that end when the last two drivers running wreck each other out short of the start/finish line. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Now the next step, if NASCAR officials really want to convince fans gone AWOL that they’re serious about drawing them home, is to return the Southern 500 to Labor Day weekend at Darlington…

Isn’t it interesting that the head FOX honcho recently said that he’s optimistic about good TV ratings given the new standardized start times? David Hill was once the chief architect of the later starts that put race finishes into primetime, a change he tried forcing down the throats of race fans only to end up with a steaming pile of vomit all over his shoes.

It’s Danica Patrick’s world; you just live here. Honestly, I’ve never seen so much attention devoted to a Nationwide driver who was running 30 somethingth. But as ESPN’s coverage persisted, it had to be a horror show to the rest of the sponsors and drivers looking for their fair share of Joyce Julius mentions. In fact, I’d recommend to any up-and-coming driver they might want to consider growing their hair out, a gender change operation, and breast implants to appear on screen from here on out. The fact ESPN’s Bottom Line ticker noted only Ms. Patrick’s misfortunes and not Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (who used to be pretty popular himself) ending on his roof – or the eventual race winner – was an Alice in Wonderland moment for true race fans. Now, don’t get me wrong; Patrick did well for a rookie during Speedweeks. I’m all for inclusiveness of talented drivers regardless of their gender, race, creed, or country of origin. But it seems that all the attention directed Danica’s way was a form of reverse discrimination for other rookie drivers looking to make a name for themselves. In the wake of last year’s “Batgirl” brouhaha, perhaps I should be more circumspect but, gentle readers, when you opened this column you just knew when it comes to this rodeo, it’s Bull Out of the Chute time. Frankly, absent the makeup consultants and hairstylists, on race day itself, I find Ms. Patrick, well … um… unremarkable. The fact she needs GoDaddy, the leading purveyor of internet soft-core porn, to be able to race speaks volumes…

I couldn’t help but wonder how the other drivers involved in the wreck that ended Patrick’s day on Saturday felt about the network’s apparent lack of concern for their safety or misfortune. When we last saw the No. 16 car, it was going up in flames. Where was the fire crew… standing in line to get Danica’s autograph? Did the car eventually burn to the ground, or did they get it put out?

It was a bit odd to see all the pre and post-race coverage with Jimmy Spencer missing in action. As I have cause to know, NASCAR can be pretty harsh in crushing voices of dissent; so Mr. Spencer, should you need an in, I’m pretty well connected. If you need a job, I can always gain you entrance to the Citizens Journalists Corps and teach you the secret handshake so you don’t look foolish at our First Annual Spring Gala. Mr. Weber, sorry; there’s no fixing stupid.

Jamie McMurray is overcome by emotion after taking the victory in one of the crazier Daytona 500s in recent memory.

I’ve always said “there’s no crying in car racing,” but I’ll give McMurray a pass on his Victory Lane interview. After all, I know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in with no place in the circus a couple months before the season starts, even if I am just a clown. Speaking of which, does anyone know where RacingOne disappeared to during the offseason? To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, I’m still here, they’re all gone…

Jezum Crowe, there’s no arguing that Daytona now has the nicest flagstand on the circuit, replete with an elevator to carry race officials to its summit. After Krista Voda waxed eloquently about this massive edifice during the Truck race, I think perhaps it’s time to add the flag-tower as an eighth Wonder of the World. But it would have been nice if Daytona spent a few bucks eliminating some of the bumps on the track instead, or seeing to it the double yellow lines that now mark “out of bounds” ran parallel to one another. Wouldn’t your average county road crew been fired and charged with fraud if they’d lined a road that badly? And given their new lofty perch, you’d have thought the Nationwide officials could have seen the safety truck blocking the pit road entrance right in front of them before opening the pits. My old buddy Bob Weir used to sing a song about monkeys, trains, and tragedy narrowly averted. (And speaking of the Dead, what was the deal with using Alabama Getaway as a segue to commercials for a race held in Florida?)

Fans of Matt Kenseth can be forgiven for panicking watching the yellow No. 17 Ford being pushed to the garage area while the cars were warming up on pit road prior to the race. Fortunately for them, that was last year’s winning 500 car being retired from the Daytona museum to make way for this year’s winner. For those who didn’t buy a program, this year Kenseth is driving the purple-blue Crown Royal car.

Yeah, I’m a nasty, cynical, bad-tempered old SOB who has been following the sport for over four decades, but I still get a little choked up listening to the National Anthem and watching the flyover prior to the Daytona 500.

It was hard not to crack up when Todd Bodine ended up the central figure in the “Just For Men” hair-coloring promo during the Truck race.

Maybe I’m just too sensitive (and long-term readers know I’m the shrinking violet type), but even almost a decade later I’m not comfortable seeing a black and silver number 3 RCR race vehicle out there on the track.

Denny Hamlin’s season is off to a poor start due to an injury playing basketball. Jimmie Johnson got hurt playing golf. Carl Edwards got hurt playing Frisbee. Any more questions about if today’s drivers are as tough as guys like Junior Johnson and Cale Yarborough?

In the interest of historical accuracy, Richard Petty did not win the 1969 Riverside season opener in a Ford Torino Talladega. The car was a regular Torino. Ironically, the Torino Talladega debuted at Daytona, while the Dodge Charger Daytona debuted at Talladega back in 1969.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Uber-aggressive Brad Kesolowski was vocal in stating he didn’t care if he ticked off other drivers. He wasn’t at Daytona to win friends. Apparently, he wasn’t there to win the race, either. Keselowski earned the dubious honor of triggering the first wreck of the 2010 Daytona 500 when he lost a right rear tire.

Kasey Kahne had a fast car, as evidenced by his winning his qualifying race, but he fell back through the field late and into the clutches of whatever demons have possessed the driver of the No. 24 car.

Axle issues thwarted any attempt by Jimmie Johnson to get his title defense off to a fast start.

A.J. Allmendinger clearly had a fast car, and he was up on the wheel, but problems in the pits and a spin later in the race ended his chances.

Elliott Sadler, with that new Ford engine under the hood, ran strong most of the day, but wound up 24th in the final rundown after overheating.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Months before the season began, Jamie McMurray was still out a ride after NASCAR rules forced Jack Roush to eliminate one of his teams and McMurray was selected as odd man out. My guess is that that Bass Pro Shops’ reluctance to have him as their driver is now officially at an end.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s motivation and determination to win have been questioned in many quarters, by this writer included, but it sure did look like he wanted to win the 500 on the last lap.

David Reutimann is going to be a lot more popular with a large faction of race fans for pushing Junior to a second place finish.

After a disastrous 2009 Cup campaign, Richard Childress had to have left Daytona grinning after watching two of his drivers lead laps and all three of his entries posting top 11 finishes.

Worth Noting

  • The top 10 finishers at Daytona drove five Chevys, three Fords, and two Toyotas.
  • Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, and Matt Kenseth are the only three drivers to post top 10 finishes in both the 2009 and 2010 Daytona 500s. McMurray finished 37th in last year’s 500.

What’s the Points?

Oddly enough, the points pretty much mirror the finish of the Daytona 500. Can we not get our shorts all in a wad about points until at least springtime? After all, eventual champion Jimmie Johnson left Daytona 31st in the points last year.

Kevin Harvick finished seventh, but is actually fifth in the standings thanks to the ten-point bonus for leading the most laps. Reutimann and Martin Truex, Jr. are tied for sixth behind Harvick.

If they were to lock the top 12 in points into the Chase right now… it would spare us from having to go to Fontana next week.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – We’ll give this one four icy cold Coronas, and it might have been five if the track hadn’t fell apart. It seems these drivers are actually able to police themselves pretty nicely. (For the record, I award the Twin 150s a six pack apiece.)

Next Up: After all the PT Barnum hype of the Daytona 500, the actual race season kicks off next weekend in Fontana. Perhaps not surprisingly, good seats remain available… in blocks of 500, if you wish to bring along a lot of friends. Color me surprised.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Jack
02/15/2010 08:24 AM
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Matt,

Here is a suggestion for next weekend while the Sprint Cup takes a week off, if you have not caught the Furthur tour yet please try too. Listened to the show last night from Ithaca on Sirius and it really is something special. I am catching it in Manchester, NH this thursday night. Very Jerrylike.. The most since he took his enternal nap.

Stephen HOOD
02/15/2010 08:41 AM
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Why are you surprised about the Danica hype? During the offseason it was all “will she or won’t she.” It seems to me she is the Sarah Palin of racing except Danica actually has a resume with some substance. Maybe the other rookies should have been given some airtime, but the fact of the matter is Danica was the story. The F1 dude might have been the story if the NASCAR audience was mostly European, but we’re mostly a bunch of horny white dudes.

My vote for the most hype is Denny Hamlin. I think the dude is more overrated than Dale Jr. He’s also a whole lot less likable than his teammate Kyle. His diatribes against Kesolowski may not be without merit, but Kesolowski’s record isn’t that far off from Hamlin’s. My guess is by the end of 2011, Kesolowski will have surpassed Hamlin in Sprint Cup victories. He may have already surpassed Hamlin in NASCAR victories. I think Hamlin’s biggest problem with Kesolowski is fear.

Also, I’m glad Jimmy Spencer was replaced by Kyle Petty. Spencer didn’t get fired and is still on the air, plus Petty is pretty vocal about the problems with NASCAR, too. The difference in Petty and Spencer is Petty is actually articulate whereas Spencer mostly sounds like a dumb*#%. I understand why Kenny Wallace is on the show, but how much longer until he gets bumped by Michael Waltrip?

Finally, I always hear the drivers saying they want to go where Junior goes, and watching Reutimann push him through the field was pretty cool. One thing to note is the top two Toyotas were Waltrip’s cars (where was JGR?).

Fairlane
02/15/2010 08:55 AM
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Matt is right on about the Danica-hype. Ugh! Enough is enough. It was almost as bad as ESPN2’s constant barrage of Ashley Force coverage on the NHRA broadcasts. Almost.

Carl D.
02/15/2010 09:13 AM
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My Mom has been a Nascar fan for as long as I remember (if you said something bad about Richard Petty you might get cold grits for breaksfast the next morning); now all she talks about is Danica. “When does Danica race?”… “How did Danica qualify?”… Danica Danica Danica. Of course, Mom loves Darrel Waltrip too, but I digress. The point is, the hype is working. People are interested in Danica, and that’s good for the sport, whether you like her, dislike her, or, like me, could care less. (Sorry, Mom.)

Kudos to McMurray. While he got some help from Biffle, Jamie still had to dig for this one, and there’s no doubt he earned the win. It’s your party, Jamie… cry if you want to.

Jack… you might also enjoy the Wanee Festival in April. ABB, Johnny Winter, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and many many more. Google Wanee.

Dennis
02/15/2010 09:56 AM
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I don’t mind the Danica show. I began following NA$CAR because a local Yankee was in it.

Now I am hooked with several trips to 5 different tracks under my belt. 7 season tickets to 2 races a year at my local track. I can attest to the positive side of generating interest to new fans.

I hope she does well. I think it would only help the sport.

I do think her spotter needs to be replaced. He told her nothing other than the wrecked cars were “up against the wall”.

In blinding smoke like that the race is in the spotters hands.

But for the Highway Department Road Crew the race was pretty good compared to what “shows” they have put on before.

Nice to see some other drivers up front mixing it up for a change than just the usual suspects.

I can understand J Mac losing it. Imagine how it must feel when you dedicate everything to a job you know you can do and it is suddenly gone with no apparent hope for a ride to then win the Daytona 500.

VABlueGrass
02/15/2010 09:59 AM
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Did anyone else catch Mike & Mike in the morning where the guy subbing for Greeny said the media must not have done their job well enough because too many people were wondering why Danica wasn’t racing Sunday…

Ouch.

Mark
02/15/2010 10:51 AM
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I disagree Matt , i think Danica is remarkable . She did a great job . Now as for the media blizzard about her , the media barely knows how to spell stock car racing , so the fact that they latched on to her every move isn’t really all that strange . They made Paris Hylton a star . Except of course Hylton has no talents whatsoever , Danica is a pretty good racer . And a great deal of the hype was generated by the Hendrick / Earnhardt Jr. marketing department . They realeased stories about Danica every five minutes from the day she anounced she was going to race . At least they were distracted from the usual media blitz of non-information about Jimmy Johnsons’ every breath .
It sure seemed that NASCAR and their marketing partners were leaning awfully heavy on the “ back to our roots “ mantra along with many , many replays of old Daytona races . What exactly were they trying to tell us . Racing was much better in the old days ? We’ve screwed up the sport so badly that we’re going to go backwards to save it ? The current racing is so terrible that we have to remind the fans what its supposed to look like ?

Robin
02/15/2010 10:53 AM
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Stephen HOOD – Denny Hamlin has more talent in his little toe than Kesolowski will ever have.

Carl D.
02/15/2010 11:24 AM
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Robin…

Time will tell. Personally, I think Keselowski is a diamond in the rough. As for Hamlin, well, I think Steven HOOD is spot-on with his assessment.

Craig
02/15/2010 12:41 PM
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At least everyone made it out of there safe and sound, potholes notwithstanding. Unlike in other recent plate races.

As for the GWC rule, there should be unlimited attempts at a GWC, with the following rules:

1) Refueling (but not tire changing) under caution after the scheduled distance should be permitted without losing track position (preventing fuel mileage in such).

2) A red flag during a GWC situation automatically ends the race. However, they can only be thrown if there is rain, darkness, clearly visible damage to track/fencing/walls or an injured driver.

Kevin in SoCal
02/15/2010 12:46 PM
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Matt said: The only grass I’ve seen this month was being smoked in a buddy’s basement.)

Well that explains A LOT about your opinions.

Mark said: I disagree Matt , i think Danica is remarkable… They made Paris Hylton a star . Except of course Hylton has no talents whatsoever… usual media blitz of non-information about Jimmy Johnsons’ every breath.

Your opinion is immediately discredited because you cant spell Paris Hilton or Jimmie Johnson’s names right.

Matt said: Perhaps not surprisingly, good seats remain available… in blocks of 500, if you wish to bring along a lot of friends. Color me surprised.

Judging by the commercials for Las Vegas and Atlanta shown during the race, lots of tickets are still available for those races, too. What’s your point?

Henry M
02/15/2010 12:49 PM
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While I like the new, earlier starting times, did you notice how long they lasted? Already gone! Texas switched from the 1 PM to 3 PM. While I certainly understand the 3 PM for the left coast, no one can justify it for Texas, the Indy 500 was a noon Central start for many years.

Danica was passable but it took JPM 3 years running full-time in Cup to get good. Who thinks that she can do it running part-time in Nationwide? Never happen!

Mark
02/15/2010 01:12 PM
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Kevin in SoCal , both names were mis-spelled on purpose .

leedanielson
02/15/2010 01:15 PM
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Except for the pothole fiasco I thought this was a hell of a race. I gave it five beers. That’s the most I’ve given a race in awhile. As far as Danicamania goes, this is typical ESPU. When they decide to create a story, they will ride it for all it’s worth.
They’ll beat the dead horse again and again and again…….. Get back to me when she’s a competitive nas$car driver.

Bad Wolf
02/15/2010 01:36 PM
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Other than the track falling apart I was pleasently suprised by the racing on the track yesterday. I have to give credit to Nascar for the rule changes they put into effect this year, and I hope it is a first step of many to get the racing back the way it should be. I feel vindicated in that all the complaining from us old school fans, along with staying away from the tracks, has had a positive influence on what happened on the track at Daytona. I may just start tuning in to all the races again if they keep changing back the way it should be.

I hope after watching the racing action at Daytona all those who kept bleating for the complainers to just go away and don’t watch think about the changes that we have made happen.

As for Danica, hype is not good for the sport in the long term, but will give a short term boost to ratings. Danica has run 81 open wheel races and only won one in Japan on fuel mileage, while half the regulars did not even show up for that exibition race. I also think Danica looks like Eddie Munster with her hair pulled back and sans make up. The airbrush also gets a good work out on her print ads. I’m not saying she’s not cute in a girl down the street way, but she’s far from a Go Daddy Girl.

RamblinWreck
02/15/2010 01:38 PM
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Gotta disagree with you about more GWC’s being a good thing, Matt. 1976 and 1979 didn’t have GWC’s, and if they did, they wouldn’t have been the classics they were. They had racing back to the line, which is a much more sensible (and likely no less safe, given the tendency to wreck up more cars if you get 3 GWC’s!) way of ending a race.

Of course, it worked out great for yesterday’s finish… but I don’t trust NASCAR to be impartial with it. Did they hold off the caution on the last lap because the wreck was in the back, or was it because the #88 was coming? Let ‘em race back to the line on the last lap all the time and there’s no way to complain about inconsistency when it rears its ugly head.

toomuchcountry
02/15/2010 01:38 PM
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Agreed Connick’s singing of the anthem was good stuff – esp combined with fly over. But for the love of Pete, have some respect for the flag and nation for which you are singing, and REMOVE YOUR STINKINHAT. I get it. The Saints won. HCJr is proud of New Orleans. But that doesn’t excuse him from wearing the fleur-de-lis during the anthem.

The Mad Man
02/15/2010 01:50 PM
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They should’ve spent the money paving the track instead of building that lame amusement park and “zoo” with the drivers on display. Just another shining example of how concerned the honchos in Daytona are for driver safety.

As to the Danica 300, BSPN stuck with their original script, even after she was out.

Glenn
02/15/2010 02:09 PM
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I can’t believe you gave them a “pass“on the pothole debacle? You of all people. If there were justics Daytona would have to refund every ticket and every business who bought advertising. Embarrassing and sad.

Richard in N.C.
02/15/2010 02:11 PM
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You might want to watch Jimmy Spencer’s show tonight on SPEED. Also, stuff happens. Didn’t they have to cancel an NFL pre-season game a few years ago between the Iggles and the Ravens because they couldn’t get the carpet fixed at the Vet?

David
02/15/2010 03:02 PM
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Racing is back, sort of. I will wait untill the spoiler comes out and see if the COT is any better.
I get the racingone.com newsletter and now it is the MRN.com newsletter.

Michael
02/15/2010 03:14 PM
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No matter how terrible your life was , no matter how bad things are in the world , being forced to listen to Joy , McReynolds , Waltrip , Hammond , and Meyers for over 6 agonizing hours was like being waterboarded . It made you realize just how big a fan of NASCAR you really are . Stick it out by poking needles in your eyes , or finaly breaking down into a sobbing wretch and admitting you just couldn’t stand that big of a dose of the FOX stooges .

Carl D.
02/15/2010 03:33 PM
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Michael…

Use that remote, son! During the red flags I watched bits from “The Godfather” on one of the other channels. While I was watching Brando, Pacino, Caan, and Duvall in one of the greatest movies of all time, you were watching DW, Larry Mac, and Jeff Hammond trying to fill dead airtime.

john
02/15/2010 03:45 PM
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So happy to see McMurray take the Daytona 500. There couldn’t be a harder working, more deserving driver in the Cup garage… The guy’s taken nothing but crap ever since he won in Sterling Marlin’s car at Charlotte all those years ago. Firings, piss-poor cars, crappy pit crews, and Roush letting him go despite winning a race, because of NASCAR’s new 4-car rule. To see him jump back to the Ganassi stable, this time as Earnhardt/Ganassi racing, and to fire on all cylinders right out of the gate is really special.

The race itself was a refreshing change from the last, oh, FIVE Daytona 500s… Yes, there was a combined ~2 hour delay to fix the asphalt on the track. But honestly, this has happened at many tracks in the past, in many series (including F1 and CART), and it’s just an unfortunate accident that has to be dealt with. No one’s fault, and nothing to get panties in a bunch over.

No rainout bullshit, no Big One, and plenty of passing, with a record number of leaders, and number of lead changes damn close to the record. I call that a good race. For the longest time it looked pretty certain that Biffle or Harvick would take the win, but on that final restart, Biffle gave McMurray the push he needed to make the breakaway.

And how about Earnhardt Jr.? Shades of his old man there, from 11th to 2nd in one lap—had he had one more lap, he probably would’ve taken McMurray on the outside and won the thing. He’s gotta be happy starting the season off on the right foot.

Then again—what happens in Daytona often stays in Daytona, and is rarely a sign of things to come. I think McMurray and Jr. are hoping it is, though.

GoDaddyGirl
02/15/2010 04:47 PM
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I might be fairly new to the sport of nascar… but I don’t understand why they wont let my girl Danica race in the Cup series. It seems to me that she would dominate almost every race and the ratings would be through the roof. Instead I end up losing 10 bucks in a bet because a no-name like McMurray pulls a win out of his you-know-what.

otto
02/15/2010 06:03 PM
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Matt, I’m like you about the patriotic part of the prerace show. The most impressive part was when the camera was on John Andreti and family at one of the 150 races. He and his wife had their hand over their heart and their son was giving a boy scout salute. It made me swell with pride. Many of the drivers and crew did not honor that tradition We all should show our respect to the flag when the National Anthem is being sung. If Obama and the ACLU have their way that too may be a lost tradition. Ray Connif did an excellent job and I think he should sing at all the races.

Bad Wolf
02/15/2010 06:16 PM
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Michael, Mute the sound on Fox and listen to MRN instead. Thats what I do and it make the races much better.

Jen
02/15/2010 07:10 PM
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Matt, if you can’t fix stupid, why would you offer to help Jimmy Spencer? I actually watched an entire RaceDay for the first time; in previous seasons I’d have to change the channel once I hit my quota of Spencer Stupid. And none of the other race fans I watch with missed him at all; we openly rejoiced over his being replaced by Kyle Petty.

Mike in OKC
02/15/2010 07:34 PM
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Matt, I finally got off my rear and registered. Have read you for years and love your take on the sport. I look forward to more of your opinions in the future. And yes, I have opinions too and will express them as the year moves along. Good write up for Daytona.

Mike In NH
02/15/2010 08:41 PM
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C’mon, can you really see Junior Johnson or Cale Yarborough playing golf, basketball, or frisbee? I didn’t think so.

Yeah, I began hitting my head on the keyboard when Danica came up during the first pavement delay, but y’know, I can’t argue when I hear people who never watch asking me when they might be able to watch her race – after all, haven’t we been saying we want Nationwide to get some more attention? Getting eyeballs to the races will hopefully result in some of the Danica fans learning to like racing in general and watching. And before someone gigs me about depending on a single racer for eyeballs – hello, Junior fans, anyone?

Oddball thought of the day – MWR finished 5th and 6th. Gibbs cars were farther back. Could this be the first hint that Gibbs’ Toyota dominance is over?

Chris2
02/15/2010 09:56 PM
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I wasn’t surprised by the “All-Danica 300” and honestly think the girl can drive..not as good as some people seem to think she can but still I think she handled herself well, especially during her slide through the infield. I was a bit jerked that Ali was barely mentioned while she ran_ahead of Danica for most of the race. Anyway, while I can see why people get bothered by just hearing about one driver for the whole race I just have to ask what racing have you been watching for the last so many years? C’mon, think back gang..from the late nineties it was Jeff Gordon we heard about for most of the race, then we heard about Dale Jr/Jimmie Johnson/Kyle Busch(Fill in the name of anyone in the Chase here). This goes for whether they were running in the Busch/Nationwide series or the Winston/Sprint series. Only a few guys/gal ever get any attention. NASCAR/Race Broadcasters could have helped the ARCA and Nationwide series by covering other drivers/aspects of the races that Danica was in to viewers that are new to those series. Sure, we know that they came to see how Danica is doing but use that to educate and draw in new fans. Too many times in the last 10 years I’ve seen a few drivers turned into “the” storyline of every race. Let the race happen and cover the whole race..the storylines will be there.

Wreckelewoski
02/16/2010 03:01 AM
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My wife and I have been addicted to NASCAR for several years. After last year when Keselowski Left Earnhardt Jr for Penske, it seemed to us like he had a chip on his shoulder towards Earnhardt and Hendricks. After watching his comments and stating he was clearly going to rough it up and he did not care about friends on the track all off season and even up to this weekend, it really seemed to us that he though he alone would bring back the old racing fans and days too and even said so. We were shocked, so I bet my wife 2 things. The first was that Keselowski would wreck Earnhardt in the 300, I have watched the Edward’s Keselowski moving before Keselowski wrecked Earnhardt but it did not happen, there was no contact with Edward’s and also Keselowski would be the first wreck in the 500. Even I would not have guessed he would take out 2/3 of the Penske team immediately Both happened so am I right or Lucky.
Is Keselowski’s ego out of control? I just cant imagine any new comer telling Penske Racing what to do. I dont dislike Keselowski but I think he likes himself more than the fans.
What say you all? right or wrong? By the way congrats to McMurray, We are happy for him, he seems like a real nice guy.

Old Farmer
02/16/2010 12:45 PM
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Two things:

One—All the Danica hype has been brought on by the media, not by her. Those who don’t like it should complain about the media, not her.

Two—The #3 is just a number, nothing more. DE is dead. It’s a shame, but it’s a fact. Get over it.

Rick
02/16/2010 04:07 PM
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Danica hype – the talking heads drive the average ‘real’ race fan crazy. However, with the state of NA$CAR heading into this season, it needed all the help it can get. I wish Danica all the best – just hope the announcers will give the sponsers of the other cars their fair share of coverage.

Matt mentioned that it appeared the crowd was up for all the events this year. Concerning the 500, they had a sell out. How many realized that the speedway removed 12,000 seats since last year’s race. Great way to ensure a sellout – remove your empty seats from last year’s show (plus a few thousand).

Track problem – while I found the wait very fustrating (& cold) I don’t recall a stoppage in the racing for the track breaking up during my last 30 years of attending the 500. Accordingly, I am willing to give the track a bye on this one.