Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daytona Primer

The Duel 150 races roll off in a few hours (it's noon as I type this), so just a few tidbits to keep in mind as we embark on the 2009 Sprint Cup season.

It would be wise to write down (or print this blog), and store away, the changes of drivers to teams, and number switches. Like this:
  • Tony Stewart out of the #20, and into the #14
  • Joey Logano into the #20
  • Bobby Labonte out of the #43 and into the #96
  • Ryan Newman out of the #12 and into the #39
  • David Stremme into the #12
  • Mark Martin out of the part time #8 and into the #5
  • Casey Mears out of the #25 and into the #07
  • Clint Bowyer out of the #07 and into the #33

Yeah, my head is spinning too. There are more changes out there, but those are the biggies (that come to mind).

ISC announced Wednesday that Daytona is getting re-paved in 3 years. that's nice to know, but watching the cars bounce around on that track (which hasn't been re-surfaced since 1978), it makes you wonder if those bumps contribute a little to the "big ones" we see there. Yeah, the restrictor plate plays is own part, but in those tight packs, one big wiggle can set off the chain reaction. We'll see...

I love how they set the field for the 500, but making it take nearly a week, well, that's a bit much. Set the front row in qualifying on one day, then set the rest of the field with the 150's the next. This can all be done starting Thursday with the front row qualifying, Friday duels, Saturday practice, Sunday race. If NASCAR wants to help the fans save money, that's the way to do it.

Going out on the limb (which worked for me before UNC-Duke when I said Duke by 3, lol), Jimmie Johnson is the pick to win his 4th straight title, but he will be under heavy fire this year from these drivers: Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Gordon.

My Daytona 500 winner pick is Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Scrapbook notes:

Congrats to the Charlotte Bobcats on picking up back-to-back wins before the All Star break. This is a fun team to watch now, and they actually have some "players." They might be the biggest sleeper in the Eastern Conference, when you talk about playoff teams. A big 2nd half puts them in. They can do it, but they have to stay healthy.

UNC-Duke, Act I was wonderful, but I didn't give UNC enough credit for being THAT much better. Listening to both coaches after the game, I got the sense that Duke realizes this just might not be their year, after facing the Heels. Mike Krzyzewski was honest when he said that UNC was just better than Duke is right now. I don't know how much that changes between now and the end of the regular season. Duke played well, UNC played better. They were in a different place last night, and it showed. Still, UNC has shown they are not invincible with earlier losses. March is gonna be fun.

Tim Baier takes you through the night on Sports Night, as I will be attending Night with the Knights. Blog at you again on Friday!

Mike Solarte

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