Daytona 500 ending a damp shame
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.