This weekend I spent Saturday, Sunday and yes Monday at Daytona International Speedway watching or waiting to watch NASCAR racing. Here’s my daily breakdowns and overall thoughts on the weekend.
Saturday we got to the track at 10:30 A.M. in plenty of time to park 2 miles away pay 20 bucks to park and enjoy the festivities outside of turn four. This year lacked presence from Goody’s which is shocking because ever since I could remember they’ve been there with a stand or good-looking girls passing out free samples. Overall, the activities available this year seemed to be lacking a bit but it was still a fun time. Meeting Michael Waltrip at his merchandise trailer was great as well as getting a Cole Whitt autograph picture at his. The crowd for Danica Patrick was insane; I don’t think there’s ever been a rookie who has gotten this much attention ever. It makes me eager to see how Travis Pastrana is received by the fans when he comes. We entered the racetrack and took our seats as driver introductions were starting. Daytona has to be the best sports venue for food prices in Florida. With pulled pork sandwiches for $7 that are better than most restaurants and grilled sausages with grilled onion and peppers for the same price; and the ability to bring in your own cooler it’s a cheap day for food. Daytona did everything right Saturday.
The tandem racing was back at Daytona in a style that made every person in attendance stand up throughout the entire race. There wasn’t a dull moment under green. Kyle Busch was able to take a car that looked to be a failure to the front and almost took home a top 5 finish if there wasn’t a wreck on the last lap. Austin Dillon much like his brother Ty in the truck race showed why they are the future of racing; they dodged each wreck that happened in front of them. I think it’s because Richard Childress used to throw things at them as kids because they got away from everything. The NASCAR Nationwide series is consistently the best racing of any weekend at the track and it was once again. Two car drafting is the best thing to happen to Daytona and it showed with how exciting the Nationwide race was this weekend.
Sunday I walked into the speedway the very second rain started pouring down. My dad, brother, grandma, girlfriend, uncle, and aunt were all there Sunday and we huddled under the bleachers to avoid rain for a couple of hours before we said “fuck this, let’s go get food somewhere.” Our original play was Hooter’s but instead we went to a local place called Gator’s. The beer was pretty cheap at $8 a pitcher and the food was great. Honey Mustard chicken wings were amazing as was the fried gator tail. My girlfriend’s chicken tenders were incredible and by far the best I’ve had in years (I eat chicken fingers at least once a week). As we were getting ready to leave Gator’s NASCAR postponed the race leaving us out $100 bucks on the food there we could have just went home and ate as well as the $20 for parking which has no refund. But it was a good time with the family so it wasn’t that bad until we all realized that they could have held the race Sunday night if they started it at 8P.M. NASCAR wouldn’t do that because they were afraid to go against the Oscars on television; once again the paying ticket holders get screwed by this sport. Oh, well 12 P.M. start time Monday.
Monday, we all wake up at 8 to leave by 9 and drive the hour away. However we decided the rain wasn’t letting up enough to actually leave. Then we got the very early decision to move the race to 7P.M. which was a selfish ploy for ratings on NASCAR’s part showing that no matter how much they say “we’ve got the greatest fans” we know they honestly couldn’t care less about people at the track they’ve already gotten money from. So anyway we return to the track minus my Uncle and Aunt for some racing. After Saturday and last year I was excited; Come on it’s Daytona under the lights we’d be out by 10:30 it wasn’t that bad. Green flag drops and we see a wreck. Then the race gets going in the most boring racing I’ve ever seen. Single file racing on the inside line that just pulls away from everyone. NASCAR should be ashamed of themselves for altering the cars this weekend; they have restrictor plates on the cars for the purpose of safety and that makes sense. This weekend was alteration for the sake of making the racing look how they want it. I was bored with the racing pretty quickly and couldn’t for the life of me understand how anyone who watched a race as exciting as the Nationwide race had been could like the snooze fest that breeds cautions of multiple cars every single time. Pack racing is back at Daytona but at what cost to the integrity of racing? Juan Pablo hit the jet dryer at about 10:00 and set us back two hours. In my honest opinion a race that was only restarted because Dave Blaney was leading. If Dale, Kyle, Kenseth, or anyone with a decent following was leading they would have called the race right then. NASCAR can say all they want they finished the race because they wanted the fans to have a full 500 but really they didn’t want Blaney winning on a chance caution. Overall when the 2 hour clean up finished and Tide was mentioned 300 times, we went back to racing and saw Matt Kenseth win his 2nd Daytona 500. I got home at 4:45 in the morning after sitting through the rain delay and would have had no problem with Dave Blaney winning. I truly am disappointed with NASCAR and DIS this weekend. I hope in July they’ll get rid of the ridiculous rules packages that held back some great cars from pushing their way to victory. Change takes getting used to and should have been accepted at Daytona, not ruined. Maybe if we complain enough about Danica NASCAR will institute a no women policy; since all it takes is fans crying about how they don’t understand the evolution of racing to get NASCAR to outlaw something.
I had a blast Saturday, however Monday I was more than upset with the lack of exciting racing than anything else. Hopefully next year we can have some great racing in the new cars. Let’s hope NASCAR doesn’t take every measure available to ensure that people who don’t understand change and leave the cars as stock as possible. After all that’s what the S C stands for right?