Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jamie McMurray wins Daytona 500

Not-so-random thoughts on the Daytona 500.
  • There will be much criticism of NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway and the road crew for the handling, first botched repair, of "the hole." Some of it will be deserved. Let's keep some things in mind. This is a surface that is old, when compared to other race tracks on the NASCAR schedule. The last time the place was repaved was over 30 years ago. Repaving it will take away some of the characteristics of the racing surface. What do you do? The track officials claimed the recent rains caused the surface to break up in spots, and then the colder weather was to blame for the failed first patch. I can't offer up a solution, but I can say they worked diligently on it, and according to some of the media on hand, the road crew actually used bondo to plug the thing up (on the 2nd attempt), and that seemed to work. Whatever the case may be, some tough decisions need to be made for that track, if it wishes to continue to use the "World Center of Racing" handle. On Sunday it was the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago--more road work than actual moving cars--and that's bad for a race track.
  • A 2nd place finish does not a season make, BUT if you are a fan of Dale Earnhadrt Jr,. you have to be, pardon the sponsor pun, amped for his 2nd place finish. Sure it wasn't a win, but given the fact he went from 10th to 2nd over the final 2 laps, there is reason to be optimistic. Dale Jr. was slicing through cars the way his father did. Rub off some paint? So. We can repaint it on Monday. Hurt someone's feelings by driving over them? So. I can call them Monday to apologize if I want to. This is Daytona. Nice to see him doing that, and making no excuses. He was bummed about his runner-up finish. Trust me, that's a VERY good thing. Some classify him in the "hungry" category. That post-race reaction indicates he is "starving" for success. Patience, Little E. It's coming,
  • Jamie McMurray. 2010 Daytona 500 Champion. No doubt that has a nice ring to it for him. His car didn't appear to be as strong as Kevin Harvick's, but at Daytona, it's about having a good enough car and being in position. It certainly didn't hurt that Greg Biffle gave him the huge bump that shot him to the front. Best past about all of it, for me, was the unbridled joy McMurray showed after winning NASCAR's biggest event. He was crying on his cool-down lap. He couldn't get through the Victory Lane interview without tears. He was crying in the media center afterwards. Heck, he might be crying if he's reading this. When you win the Daytona 500, you can do whatever you want to celebrate, within the limits of the law, of course. Crying is not a crime. Not a misdemeanor, nor felony. Good to see that kind of passion on display. I was lucky enough to cover his first win, when he filled in for Sterling Marlin at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and won the fall race there in his 2nd Cup start. Now, he is a part of NASCAR history and lore. Forever. In Victory lane, when he could speak, he told the story of how, after his Talladega win, he and his wife went to McDonald's afterwards, and that he might have a Big Mac Sunday night top celebrate. Here's hoping he had 2 of them. He earned them.

Mike Solarte

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