5 Questions After ... Daytona 500

Well, folks, we made it through the hole (couldn’t resist) Daytona 500… all 6+ hours of the event. Due to two red flags that added up to over 2 ½ hours of waiting over NASCAR to fix a pothole in turn 2, the race ended under the lights, just as it had the last few years. Except, this time, it wasn’t planned. The race started around 1PM ET on Sunday afternoon but due to cautions, green-white-checkers, and a crumbling racetrack the race went on much longer than originally planned.

You know I have questions!

Did anyone else just love some of the driver interviews mid-race? … From Darrell Waltrip waking up Kyle Busch while he waited on pit road during the first red flag, to David Ragan and Carl Edwards picking on each other about their choice of pit road snacks, the drivers certainly kept us entertained during the seemingly endless delays in the race. We saw drivers walking to the bathroom to take a mid-race potty break, fans seeking out one last chance for autographs (the drivers happily obliged), and driving mingling on pit road trying to entertain themselves while they waited for the race to resume. The drivers were all smiles and very upbeat during the “halftime” breaks, which helped tide fans over until the drivers were called back to their racecars.

How cool was it to see some emotion in victory lane? … Jamie McMurray’s tearful victory lane celebration was very refreshing. In a sport where drivers are accused of being politically correct robots, it was nice to see someone savor a win so heartily. If fans weren’t already crying along with McMurray during his victory, even the coldest heart had to have melted when McMurray’s wife Christy came up behind him and gave him a congratulatory hug … um, excuse me, let me go grab my tissues. I’ll be right back … Alright, anyways, the celebration was very emotional, and McMurray even got choked up a few times in the media center. If you read my “5 Questions Before … Daytona 500” column, you saw me ask if we’d get another emotional victor for the 500 this season. I think we got our wish!

What happened to the racing surface? … I think most of us probably cleaned out our ears when they pulled the racecars onto pit road for a … what? A hole in the track? But that’s exactly what the caution was for. Drivers had been reporting the gaping crevice on the racing surface in turn 2 for several laps before the initial caution came out, and it was quickly apparent that the racetrack wasn’t adequate for racing. Whether it was Digger seeking revenge on the NASCAR community for rejecting his pre-race cartoons, the Geico pothole reminding everyone she still doesn’t have a cellphone, or just the past several decades of racing surface finally falling apart remains to be seen (though the last option is probably the most likely). I guess we’ll see how well it holds up in July….so, Daytona, until then “kay bye!”

How often will we see all three green-white-checkers used in a race? … And at what racetrack will that prove to be not enough? After a long day of sitting around and waiting for the race to restart, fans more than deserved a green flag finish … and boy did they get it! However, the closer to the end of the race we get, the crazier these drivers seem to drive (and understandably so). Will three green-white-checkers be enough in the July race? What about the spring Talladega race? Will Bristol or Martinsville prove to need more than three GWCs? Who knows… but if three overtimes aren’t enough, then I’m pretty much convinced that these drivers are completely hopeless.

Where the heck did Jr. come from?! … With 20 laps to go, Jr. was running in 19th position. 19th! Just for the record, David Ragan was 16th, Kyle Busch was 17th, and Jeff Burton was 18th. Those drivers finished 16th, 14th, and 11th, respectively. Where did Jr. finish? … 2nd. Somehow, Earnhardt Jr. slithered and slid his way through the field like a rattlesnake, and before McMurray had time to react that No. 88 Amp Energy Chevrolet was placed squarely in McMurray’s rearview mirror. McMurray performed some good mirror driving though and was able to hold off the No. 88 as he cruised to the victory.

Bonus questions: How long will we hear the “hole” jokes? … Who all thinks the Coca-Cola Racing drivers should have sang the Coke song for the fans during the delays?… Was Kyle dreaming of baby seals and kittens while he napped on pit road?

Photo courtesy of NASCARMedia. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
5 Questions After ... Daytona 500 5 Questions After ... Daytona 500 Reviewed by Summer Dreyer on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 Rating: 5