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Monday, February 19, 2007

A few Random Thoughts from yesterday's race.

-Everyone will remember the wild finish and the multiple wrecks in the final 25 laps. That's probably good, because the first 175 laps were very boring. Maybe as boring as next Sunday's race at California.

-Don't get mad at Kevin Harvick for “stealing” Mark Martin's win. He was doing his job. Everyone else wrecked on the final lap trying to pass Martin too. As much as Martin deserves to win a Daytona 500 (and a Cup for that matter), no one was going to simply sit back and hand it to Martin. And there's no doubt Martin would be upset if anyone did sit back and serve him the win.

-People complain the caution should have been thrown. If NASCAR throws the caution, people complain that a good finish was spoiled. Damned if you do...

-In the last two years, Hendrick won five of the eight restrictor plate races. they often placed multiple drivers in the top ten. They were easily the top plate program in NASCAR. Granted yesterday's race placed a greater emphasis on handling than pure horsepower, but aside from Kyle Busch, Hendrick's big guns were never a factor. Yes, Ginn and Haas cars have Hendrick power, and were strong yesterday, but they obviously found a package that worked better than the four in-house Hendrick cars.

-Three commercials really stuck out as entertaining. The Tony Stewart Sunoco commercial where he goes to the grocery store with a fan (and climbs a shelf). Denny Hamlin racing a scooter at a retirement home. Jimmie Johnson showing his Nextel Cup to Elliot Sadler.

-Worst in-race feature: Domino's Hot lap.Fox compared the times of the top five qualifiers on an arbitrary lap in the middle of the race. It is pretty meaningless at most tracks, but a fast lap at a plate race is almost as meaningless as qualifying in the top five. It was even worse when the “winner” of the Hot Lap was Jeff Gordon, who was running 28th at the time.

-Several full-time teams outside the top 35 had pretty good days. Joe Nemechek finished 7th, Johnny Sauter 15th, and Sterling Marlin 16th. Dale Jarrett is secure for the first six races but helped his cause with a solid 21st.

-Brian Vickers, Paul Menard and A.J. Allmendinger missed the Daytona 500, but at least they are still ahead of Michael Waltrip in the standings. Waltrip earned -23 points for his efforts Sunday.

-Lamest Quote: Mike Joy, “Can you hold your breath for 33 more laps?” Mike, that sounded a lot like something Bill Weber would ask. It's also easier to breathe with so many commercial breaks.

-I skipped the pre-race coverage, but was pleased with the race coverage. Fox didn't dwell on the cheating issues too much, and DW didn't even babble about Toyotas in excess.

-Maybe this is nitpicking. On ESPN's ticker it reads, “Kevin Harvick wins NASCAR Nextel Cup Daytona 500.” It's the biggest motorsports event in the US, and I think even the most clueless sports fan knows what sport the Daytona 500 is in. ESPN would never have to tell people that the Cardinals won the Major League Baseball World Series.

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