I'll be the first to admit... I am the most cynical NASCAR fan that most of you know. I always find the gas tank half empty when dealing with the internal politics at NASCAR. However, once in a blue moon, NASCAR stumbles onto a feel-good, story for the ages. The ending of Sunday's Daytona 500 was one of those instances.
Trevor Bayne, a clean cut, good looking, respectful, polite driver who, after turning 20 on Saturday, was making his second Sprint Cup Start in the hallowed #21 Wood Brothers Ford. The yellow stripes on his back bumper were very misleading as he survived 16 caution flags and two GWC restarts to win the Great American Race, the Daytona 500.
Bayne made all the right moves in route to the biggest prize in American auto racing. Afterwards, he was humble, excited, surprised, and poised as his enthusiasm and charm overwhelmed even us old curmudgeons. This kid could be just what NASCAR needs to infuse some new fans into the sport.
Strange bedfellows were created by the tandem drafts at Daytona. This led to some strangers to the top-10 having great finishes. Like David Gilliland in 3rd, Bobby Labonte in 4th, and Regan Smith had a strong 7th place run. Ex-series champs Bill Elliott (12th), and Terry Labonte (15th) both had much needed good finishes. Special (and, I do mean 'special') shout out to Steven Wallace for missing a sitting duck on the track, and for his lead lap finish.
Where to begin? How about a new track record of 16 cautions? Is there such a thing as a 'single car incident' anymore? It wasn't just the two car drafts, either. There are still the two, or three, drivers going for the same piece of real estate... in a big pack... for 22nd place... on lap 29. Some things never change.
Fox TV's 'heat cam'. I think it was supposed to show infra-red images of the heat on the front end of the pushing car in a two car draft. They may want to test the gimmicks before rolling them out... nah.
The Waltrips. Mike was busy wrecking anything with numbers on the side of it; while Darrell was busy ignoring just who was creating that multi-million dollar junk yard in the garage area. Shameful showing by both.