Friday, February 15, 2008

Daytona 500 preview: Sure, it devours an entire Sunday, but you’d have wasted it anyway

NASCAR kicks its season off with their version of the Super Bowl. The thing is, NASCAR’s Super Bowl is longer than the actual Super Bowl, both in time of the event itself and all of the pre- and post-race analysis, dissection and general bullshit. In short (as unbelievable as this seems) the ‘500’ is a far easier way to blow a Sunday than the Super Bowl. Here’s how it goes down:


If you are like me, rising on a Sunday happens at no time before noon. From here, you can awake, tune into Fox and get bombarded with a pre -‘500’ hootenanny that would make Fireball Roberts turn in his grave. The basic race analysis, interviews and other stuff is decent enough, but by the time the obligatory 20-min performance by Lighthouse or some other amazingly bad band rolls around, taking shots of DrainO seems like reasonable activity. Pause for the F-16 fly over. Now, bow your head for the 45-min invocation (NASCAR is kind of into Christ, if you weren’t aware). You’ve now been watching this tripe for well over three hours. Wow, that really flew by. It’s three now, time for a hearty breakfast of Schlitz and ham hock (it’s called the Tony Stewart diet).

Race time:

Understanding that many folks may not have NASCAR in their regular motor sports viewing plan (I’m talking to you lawnmower racing junkies), I’ll give you the four-sentence blitz of what to expect at Daytona:

The cars run a device called a “restrictor plate,” it makes them run slower speeds and produces tightly clumped packs of cars.

This is first year that the CoT (Car of Tomorrow) has been run in the ‘500,’ and three- wide racing will supposedly not be as prevalent.

A car owned by Rick Hendrick will win this race (Jimmie Johnson or Dale Earnhardt Jr., more specifically).

Finally, there will be a huge wreck involving 10 or more cars.

That is really all you need to know. Sit back and enjoy the actual racing. There will be plenty to watch and tons of time to devour all the intricacies of the sport. I recommend keeping a running tally on the number of times Fox’s Mike Joy tosses it down to Jeff Hammond at the cutaway car. Make a drinking game of it. Drink double if a reference is made to a “spring rubber.”


If this was your first ‘500’ pat yourself on the back, because you made it through one of the most historic events in all of sports. You saw a big wreck, a horrible music performance (12 hours earlier), a Hendrick car win a race and become a step closer to a championship (to be crowned 35 races from now. Yeah, it’s kind of a long season), you paid respect to Jesus (again, about 12 hours ago) and you are a little drunk to boot. That sure beat the hell out of productivity. And you can do it all again next week. They have 500 more miles to go next weekend in California.

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