Daytona So Far

February 8th, 2010

After the first weekend of stock car activity at Daytona, there were a few big news stories that came out.

The big news (as expected) is Danica Patrick. She ran in the 80-lap ARCA race and finished a respectable 6th. But she was nearly overshadowed by one of the other 5 women in the field, Alli Owens, who used some pit strategy and ran in third for most of the last half of the race, while Danica was recovering from a trip through the infield grass.

Now we hear that Patrick will be running in the Nationwide race Saturday. I personally think it’s a big mistake. The Nationwide Series is not ARCA. Where you might have only had two or three good drivers in the ARCA race, a lot of the Cup drivers will be in the Nationwide race, so the level of competition will be orders of magnitude higher.  I just hope that the reporters  give her the attention she deserves, and no more.

Is Junior back? He qualified on the outside pole for the 500 and only he and his teammate, Mark Martin, have guaranteed starting positions. The rest of the field will have to sort themselves out in one of the two qualifying races on Thursday. Obviously, it’s too early to tell if Little Earnhardt is back, but starting up front certainly helps.

Getting back to the ARCA race for a minute, I really liked the way Darrell Waltrip and Phil Parsons worked together in the booth. It was much less “frantic” than when Larry McReynolds is in there. Larry Mac is a good pit reporter; why doesn’t Fox hire Parsons and put McReynolds in the pits?

The Bud Shootout was Saturday night. I have to say, I don’t think it bodes well for the 500. It was another “get out front and no one can pass you” race. Of course, I could be wrong; the teams could have done stuff to those cars for that race that they’d never think about doing for the 500. I hope so.

I have to say that I’m surprised that NASCAR still hasn’t messed with the plates yet. I predicted that they’d go to a smaller plate before the race, and I’m sure they could still do that. I suspect that if too many cars get airborne on Thursday, they’ll change the plate then.

I’m DVR’ing the races on Thursday, so I’m going to have to decide whether to keep up with the race as best I can during the day, or avoid all racing news and be surprised as I watch them when I get home.

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