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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Daytona 500 ending a damp shame

Consider me underwhelmed.

After an amazing Speedweeks that was full of excitement, we end on this -- an announcer saying “The Daytona 500 is over” while everyone stands around in the rain.

That’s weak with a capital W.

Part of me is happy for Matt Kenseth, who’s long been one of my favorite drivers. I’ve watched him put on some awesome races since his Busch Series days in the late 1990s battling Dale Earnhardt Jr. for titles. I don’t fault Matt for being in the front when the rain fell. He drove up there from the very back and earned the win fair and square.

But I hate races that end that way. It’s unfair to the fans. I’d rather see it end at 1 a.m. than see an ending like that. The only people happy about rain wins are the drivers who finish in the very front, and even they would probably be prouder of the win if they could race for it.

And the worst part is this was all preventable. Why the hell did this race start at 3:30 p.m.? From what I can remember, the Daytona 500 has always seen the green flag by no later than 2 p.m. The TV networks’ obsession with every single race ending under the lights robbed the fans of a decent finish today, and they should bump up the start to 1 p.m. next year. That way, we could have more time to wait out the rain if it comes.

The true fans will wait. I once saw a race live that ended at 1 a.m. at Atlanta Motor Speedway after many rain delays. I was there all day and loved every second. Don’t call the race just to please the complainers who don’t want to sit through a rain delay, or to avoid interrupting a television schedule.

The racing was decent while it lasted, except for a bunch of boneheaded moves by Dale Jr., who didn’t have his head screwed on straight Sunday. He caused a big wreck and made several pit miscues. He better hope the rest of the year doesn’t play out like that.

Thumbs up to A.J. Allmendinger for a third-place run after racing in to the 500 on Thursday. Someone needs to get him a full-year sponsorship. On the flip side, rookie Joey Logano wrecked early and finished 43rd.

This may be the first year ever that the California race is better than Daytona … that’s how weak Sunday was. Congratulations to Kenseth, but deep down in my mind I’m going to pretend this waste of a race never happened.


Anonymous Ed said...

Ya know Matt, I kinda like you and I kinda don't. It's just an opinion like yours is when you make em on these blogs. But the only bone-head moves are made by you on your keyboard. It just amazes me guys like you sit at home on the couch with your laptop and put out this crap.

On your point about TV, you are right. The obsession for late starts is killing the sport. Late evening showers in the summertime will prove it again this year as it did last year. No wonder people are tuning out, they just don't have 6-8 hours to watch a race. If you add all the bla bla before hand the fake cautions and red flags that are commonplace today in Heltons/Frances' NASCAR and then add rain and the time needed to clean up the track, racing has now become a mini-series each Sunday. It's just wrong. The further they string it out the lower the ratings go.

On Juniors move man you are the classic arm chair quarterback. No ifs ands or butts here. Racing at 300 feet per second ain't a game of hair splittin. You can't control these things like bone heads like you think you can. Ever see Dale Sr. make bad moves, how about Dale Jarrett or Jeff Gordon or Richard Petty or Bobby Allison or Jimmy Johnson or Mark Martin? Hey he is one of the most respected guys in the garage, I love him but he came into the pits 1-3 laps early one race at Bristol at the end and gave away a bunch of spots because he thought the race was over. JJ caused a wreck at Talladega for being wild, Dale Sr. made a mistake at one 1980s Daytona 500 that cost him the race, and it goes on and on. Guys miss their pits occasionally, and the one inch on the white line thing that was a bogus little rule that makes NASCAR look like a child's game. And on the Biggie, Vickers ran him down in the grass for no frigging reason. What to be first among lap downers? Vickers is and was wrong. That was as dirty as I have seen in a race and I have been watching for 40 years. Reminds me of the block that Mike Skinner put on Tony Stewart in the 500 some years back. And we see where Skinner is don't we? It's just plain ole dirty drivin. Vickers could have stopped Jr.'s momentum then pulled up a bit and avoided that mess. He was dirty then just like he misjudged at Talladega two years ago and took out Jr and JJ. But hey does anyone ever remember that "bone head" move. Na, yall are a bunch of hypocrites, can't wait to kick Jr. in the face cause you have some sort or weird idea that he gets the free pass figuratively from NASCAR too often and that he doesn't win enough for your tastes. Matt grow up. A license to put a blog up isn't a license to write like a bone head. Dale Sr. was like a god, known and loved the world over, but he made a move, that he says was a misjudgment, at Richmond that took both he and DW out of a race at Richmond with hard hard hits to the fence. You can watch it a million times and it looks like Dale meant to whack DW but I wasn't driving that car so we don't know. He took himself out too. So bone head? In this sport the measure of being a "bone head" is usually about and inch long and wide, and is usually made by someone who doesn't have a clue.

February 16, 2009 at 7:31 AM 
Blogger Kenorv said...

I think that this race shows that NASCAR is not a premiere sport in this country. If it was then NASCAR would dictate to the tv networks when the race would start and finish, not the other way around. There's no way that an NFL game would ever end prematurely, even with a weather delay and there is no way that tv would ever force an end to an NFL game no matter how long the game lasted.

What's funny is that a meaningless event like the Pebble Beach pro-am is going to go the full distance, even though the final round got washed out yesterday(they're going to complete the final round today), while the Daytona 500, the "Great American Race," the "Super Bowl of motor sports," is called with about a quarter of the race left to run. If the Daytona 500 was really as special as NASCAR would like us all to believe then there is no way that they would treat it like any other race. There is no way that it would end before the full distance was run. Daytona may have been a great race 30 years ago but today it is extremely overrated.

February 16, 2009 at 7:40 AM 
Anonymous Marcus6576 said...

Couldn't agree more. Race should start PROMPTLY at 1 PM. Why NASCAR ever agreed to a 3 PM start is beyond belief. Any delays will push the finish to around 1 AM. This was the worst 500 in history.

February 16, 2009 at 11:17 AM 

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