Monday, February 15, 2010


We won't be doing the "Live on Type Delay" this year. Because of our location, our only internet option is dial-up, and, because we live in a multi-unit residence with shared outgoing telephone lines, the times at which we may go on line are limited. If the "Live on Type Delay" isn't posted as quickly as possible after the checker flag, it loses its appeal, and the limitations posed on us make it impossible to post before midnight or the next day. Besides, without MRN in Colorado Springs, there is no point in just repeating what we see on television. But enough about me.

There was no disappointment in the Bud Shootout, the Gatorade Duels, the ARCA race, nor in the Nationwide race and the Truck race. It was all action, and the NASCAR drivers in all three series' put on a great show. This is what we can see when NASCAR backs off on the officiating that keeps the drivers from doing what they can to try to win. This is the closest we can get to the old school racing we remember without bringing back the old school drivers in their prime.

There will be those who will complain about the delays in the Daytona 500 for track repair, but there was really no helping that. The heavy rains in Florida last week and the cooler than normal temperatures combined to cause problems in the track surface--problems that could have provided more action than was necessary. If the pot holes hadn't been fixed, and somebody got seriously injured or killed because of it, we would have once again heard more outcries about lack of safety, which would have undone the progress NASCAR has made toward appeasing the fans.

The only problem I had, personally, was the quality of the TV coverage. What happened to the coverage through the field? Listening to DW and Larry MacRenolds reminisce about the old days gets old when it starts sounding like an old drunk repeating the same story over and over again, as if he forgot he already told the story, or perhaps you didn't hear it right the first time. There was a race going on, and it would have been nice to find out what was happening behind the leaders instead of "where did he come from?"

As it was we had to watch the ticker to figure out where our driver was, with no information as to why he was falling back, or moving up through the field, and how that was happening. And, most of the time, the ticker was of little use, because before we got the information we wanted, it would turn off for a caution or commercial.

Two years ago, I would never have missed ESPN coverage over that on Fox, but last year's ESPN coverage was an improvement over previous years, and definitly better than what we had for the Daytona 500 coverage. Perhaps it's time for DW to retire from the broadcast booth. Maybe he could get a show on Speed or Fox Sports where he can reminisce about the days when he was driving. Okay, he already has a show like that, but it really takes away from the race coverage when he is supposed to be calling the race. To be honest, I would rather listen to the cynical, dejected, and bitter Kyle Petty than the same old stories from Darrell Waltrip over and over again.

A crazy thought: Wouldn't it be fun if, instead of Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry Mac in the booth, we had Mike Joy, a Kyle Busch fan, and a Dale Jr. fan instead? That should make the color commentary quite colorful.

Speaking of commercials, there were some good ones. There wasn't as much sponsor participation in the sense of the Super Bowl type commercials we have seen in the past during the 500. Budweiser and Coke stepped up, and their commercials were real winners. The Kasey Kahne pit stop Budweiser commercial was excellent, as was the Coke commercial with Tony Stewart breaking into the old Barry Manilow Coke jingle, "I'd Like to Teach The World To Sing."

Now we know that Stewart can sing better than Carl Edwards, which really isn't saying much.

And I got a kick, the first time it was shown, out of the idea of Kyle Busch driving a pink car with kittens, bunnies, ponies, and baby seals painted on it, and with "I love you" written on the wing. Maybe if Kyle had "I love you" written on the spoiler of his truck Saturday night, he wouldn't have angered so many drivers while he was driving as if he could he could make up nineteen laps.

You have to admit, Kyle did put on quite a show Saturday, whether you like him or hate him. Timothy Peters won that race in a very exciting finish that showed his very real talent from a driver without that much experience in the series. Peters prevailed over some very aggressive driving on the part of Todd Bodine, who has come to believe he is the only driver who deserves to win the truck race at Daytona. Bodine crossed the finish line in second place, sliding sideways.

Say what you will about restrictor-plate races, the finishing laps of the Daytona 500 were very good. Taking advantage of all three green/white/checker attempts NASCAR now allows, the drivers gave it everything they had. When, on the third try, they finally made it to the white flag lap, Greg Biffle pushed Jamie McMurray into the lead on the backstretch. McMurray, who had been running well the entire race, then got another boost from Clint Bowyer going into turn three.. Suddenly, seemingly "from out of nowhere," Dale Earnhardt, Jr. passed eight cars as if they were standing still, and was right behind McMurray, the leader, as the field entered the final turn. The crowd, who had stayed through it all, was on its feet, cheering wildly.

Jamie McMurray drove with everything he had, and crossed the finish line first, a car length and a half ahead of Earnhardt, Jr. It was a very emotional victory celebration for McMurray, who, at the end of last season, didn't even know if he had a ride for 2010. McMurray is arguably the most well liked driver in the Cup Series, and he showed that he deserved the second chance he was given by Earnhardt-Ganassi/Felix Sabates Racing and Bass Pro Shops, his sponsor. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, by the time the victory lane interview was over. And it was heartwarming to see Da Biff enthusiastically congratulating McMurray after the race, as it was to see him happy to be partly responsible for Jamie's victory.

And it was good to see Earnhardt, Jr performing well, once again, at Daytona. It was also good to see him do a post race interview without a lot of stammering and looking at his feet. Jr. is showing all the confidence in himself and his team he didn't show last year, and that new attitude makes a promise of good things happening for the 88 team this year.

Still, the Daytona 500, being a restrictor-plate race as it is, doesn't really give us an indication of what the rest of the season will be like. We can be reasonably certain that Stewart-Haas will be working on their restrictor-plate program, since, even after their performance in the Duels, they obviously didn't have the cars to perform competetively in the long race. We can also safely assume that Jeff Gordon will continue to try to prove that bump drafting isn't a good idea. But other than that, there is no telling what the season may be like for these teams. Will Jimmie Johnson once again amaze the world by winning a fifth consecutive championship, or will some other team finally figure out a way to beat him? We probably won't have any idea of that until October, but we will be watching.

At any rate, it promises to be a good season, with the new "let the drivers be drivers" approach NASCAR is taking. And we are looking forward to the return of the spoiler blade we will see, hopefully, by April. Let the games begin!

Hey, we almost made it through this entire post without mentioning Danica Patrick.

Oh, well.

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