After the Duels on Thursday night, this may be one great Daytona 500! Overheard numerous people pleased with the racing on the track, myself included. Chase Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin will be hard to beat, take your choice out of those four. Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer will be factors but their cars are better at pushing than leading. However, Clint did state this was the best car he has ever had Daytona. It was great listening to the drivers talk in code – “yeah this is doing the same thing Kevin was telling us but we will discuss it after the race”. Heard that from several of the drivers to their crew chiefs. Oh, the secrecy of our sport!
If you have not been to Daytona International after the make over from last year, you should try it again. The amenities to this track are the best of any track. The seats are super wide for us aging overweight people. People can walk in front of you without twisting your body and still bumping knees. Escalators take us lazy people up to the level where we can see the whole track. For some reason I kept thinking last night, Big Bill France would be amazed at this place he originally built, but he might be upset with the too tall media center in the middle, and he would probably be upset how far we have come from “stock”.
I was also thinking as we were leaving the track about all the great drivers in the Kansas City area we have enjoyed over the years that we wish would have had an opportunity to make it on the grand stage. We got to witness Clint, Jamie, and Carl on the local scene and before them Rick Beebe and Terry Bivins. Terry got screwed by politics in the sport, but what if the gates had opened to the Midwest drivers? Maybe we could have seen a Tom Charles, Bill Deckman, Gene Claxton, or Kerry Davis at this level. Maybe a Tim Karrick would be known as the party hound. Guess what I am saying is we have been blessed to see local drivers that are as good as any of the current Cup Stars, so we need to support our local tracks and enjoy the old guys and cheer on the new kids!
This morning I was fortunate to meet Mike and Cindy from Mountain View Speedway in Boone, North Carolina. They are entering their 3rd year of operation, the first year was great, this last year due to legal issues with the town of Boone was not great, the county and state have stepped in to help them and hopefully this year will be great again. They opened this track after it had been shut down for 18 years. Like all promoters, they have the same concerns, everyone thinks they make money hand over fist, (they drove an 04 Honda and 98 Jeep to Daytona to attend the RPM workshops), they worry about weather like all promoters, finding good help is an issue, when you find good help they normally want paid way too much money, very few officials work for the love of the sport anymore, trying to find a new water truck because their current water truck is on its last legs, and he did break down and hire race director this year. Good luck Mike and Cindy.
Tonight the truck race is on tap. This is one of my favorite races because we have a local connection, Jennifer Jo Cobb. Is she a threat to win, probably not, but she has done more with less in this series than anyone. This is also a great series to watch at Daytona because the speeds and the truck bodies keep the field tight bunched. On your edge racing the entire time. Watch for me on television I will be waving at you!