Our country continues its descent into socialism. The economic news keeps getting worse before it gets better. I didn't get my trophy buck. My knee hurts with 3 weeks left until the half-marathon. Football's over.
BUT NASCAR IS BAAAACK!
In spite of the innane way of picking the Shootout this year, almost the full cast of characters appeared (minus Newman, which Fox appropriately mentioned and showed), almost like it had been scripted. Plenty of new faces, new colors, and new rides. I think Fox did a good job summarizing them in the pre-race.
This year's Shootout had an All-Star Winston flavor about it (yes I will continue to refer to it as The Winston and the Cup as the Winston Cup thank you very much), complete with the wreckfests. Which brings me to my major observation, if our "all stars" performed like that last night, what on earth is the 500 going to look like Sunday? I'm terrible at predictions, and have been a supporter of Nascar's continued attempts to preserve safe and competitive plate racing, regularly observing we don't have The Big One every plate race, but Sunday has a good chance of ending up a 5-hour wreckfest. The cars on the bottom pushed big time, the most obvious example was the 88's near disaster with the 24 for the lead. The cars in the middle glided like the log flume ride down at the amusement park, the 17 being the best example, and well shown and well described by Fox. So 2 lanes will be sucker grooves. Add 43 cars instead of what, 26, add desperation, the purse, and the bunch of clowns that end up in this race, and you have the formula for disaster. I would not be shocked to see 10 500 cars torn up in the qualifiers.
Guys could get runs. Sometimes on their own. Big pushes on the straights, passing thru corners, push car cant keep up, other line coming. This is good stuff.
I do love plate racing. More on that at a later time perhaps. And I like Daytona better than Dega because the cars have to handle. But they didn't. And they won't. Worse yet if the temps are up (I haven't checked the weather), the sun is out (it should be), and it doesn't rain in the mean time.
What is the little safety net under the flagstand? How many flags have we dropped on the track and had to throw the yellow? (Wonder what would happen if they dropped the yellow...). Or could something more sinister be afoot--discouraging fence climbing ??? Anyone remember the cheesy little PVC pipe fence to keep drivers off the roof a few years back?
Seeing a red 43 was terrible. Seeing it blow up almost worse. The 44 paint scheme was cool, too bad it wasnt on the 43.
Scott Speed. Oh boy. Credit my friend Paul for a pre-race prediction of Speed's early demise. Fault my naivitee for thinking he might ride around and get some experience (have I mentioned my penchant for bad predictions). Somebody buy this guy some stock car sunglasses.
Congrats to Harvick, never sorry to see him or Childress win. Wish the car was still Goodwrench. But honestly he needed a wreck to do it. The banzii move to McMurray's outside throwing up dust was almost Days of Thunder material. But the 48 with the 14 pushing like a maniac on the inside would have won, absent the last lap mahem.
There are 2 guys who seem like good plate racers, but it's because they are out of control. 26 & 18. And they wonder why no one works with them except teammates. If you have any doubt listen to a little scanner chatter at a plate race. Nobody wants those cats on their bumper when it's go time.
I'd like to see a 20 car field and I'd like to not see a Winston-style time-out pitstop. Just run the thing like a Saturday night sprint, and we'd all be fine with it.
Nascar's back. Even with all the changes, downsizings, and sponsorship issues, I'm glad.