Let me start by congratulating Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch on their victories this afternoon at Daytona in the Gatorade 150s. I am debating whether to stay up until 12:30 to catch the replay, in exchange for being a zombie at work in the morning.
Being a zombie on Friday the 13th? Sounds like fun!
Also, congrats to A.J. Allmendinger, Regan Smith, Scott Riggs, and Jeremy Mayfield for racing their way into the Daytona 500. It's good to see the small teams having some success. It appears that Mayfield's team, Tommy Baldwin Racing, and NEMCO (even though they did not qualify) all have the resources to be semi-competitive in 2009.
For those of you who love to jump on Joey Logano, take that haters. The kid finished fourth in the first duel. I know I was harsh on him after the race at Irwindale last month, but I think he deserved it in that situation.
However, unless Sliced Bread walks on water, he's not going to be good enough for some people. I guess they are just jealous of the level of life-time success Logano has had, even thought he just turned 18. I'm telling you right now that he will have a Jeff Gordon-like rookie season, with a few runs that take your breath away and a few moments that make you scratch your head, but watch out in 2010.
In recent years, NASCAR has made a concerted effort drive many of the Daytona races' laps under the lights. I've always enjoyed the night restrictor plate races, and more so in summer.
It sure beats racing in the 95-degree sauna that is Florida.
Granted, February can bring its cold snaps to the Sunshine State, but night racing is still a popular option during Speedweeks with the Bud Shootout, truck race, and conclusion of the 500, all run under the lights.
Here's an idea: Move the Twin 150s to Thursday night.
Ever since I was a little kid, the second or third Thursday of February has been filled with school and now work. In my lifetime, I think I have watched the qualifying races for the Daytona 500 live a grand total of one time.
And that was in college, when you may go to class three or four hours a day and are supposed to spend the rest of the time "studying" (this tidbit was apparently never passed along to most college students). Even then, Thursday afternoon was a popular time for the wonderful three-hour labs at my university.
Now that I have embarked out into the real world, work interrupts my date with the Gatorade Duels.
I read on the message boards how some people either cut work to watch the races or follow along on the Internet instead of actually doing something constructive. Maybe I take my job too seriously, or like it just a tad too much, but I would never think of doing either of these.
Sure, every 15 or 20 minutes I would step away from my lab work and momentarily check the leaderboard. If I was smart, I would get the NASCAR channel on my XM Radio and listen to the races. But damn, were those last three or so hours of work difficult today.
With so many other events at Daytona now run under the lights, I think it is time for NASCAR to make the Twin 150s a night race as well. All of the excitement of drivers facing their last shot at qualifying for the biggest race of the year and a guaranteed quarter million dollars—at night.
At the same time, it would allow more people to watch the races live instead of having to crank up the DVR, TiVo, or VCR and/or being about as effective as a typical government employee by following along while supposedly working. I would start the first duel at 7 p.m. EST, so even our West Coast friends could get home in time to see at least one of the races.
And judging by the typical time frame, the events would still be over by 10:30 or so, allowing viewers to still get to sleep at a reasonable time.
I know what you are saying. "What about the NCAA tourney?". That creates two days of work where a lot of people aren't actually working.
But for the sake of argument, about three-quarters of the workplace probably has an interest in that. Unfortunately for me and many other people in the workplace, there aren't a lot of co-workers that are NASCAR fans who might share the same joy of the new season.
In other NASCAR related events, I'd like to offer kudos to Rusty Wallace for bringing back a paint scheme that I loved as a kid. I'm sure that was one of the reasons your then-eight year-old-blogger picked RW as his favorite driver back in 1993.