The Daytona....380? NASCAR Really Screwed Up.

Jimmy SmithCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2009

I sat on my couch in utter disbelief. 

The Daytona 500...the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing...the Great American Race...was being shortened due to rain. 

Matt Kenseth's eyes watered up, or maybe some rain accidentally hit his eye, as he emotionally accepted his rain-shortened Daytona 500 victory and explained to FOX pit reporter Dick Bergerren that it was a long time coming.

The next thing I know, NASCAR President Mike Helton is on FOX explaining that NASCAR had to shorten its pinnacle race because the fans would have to wait until 11 o'clock for a restart.

So let me get this straight.  NASCAR is worried that the fans would be more upset about having to stay late for the finish of the most popular NASCAR race than shortening the race due to a 30 minute rain shower?

I don't buy that for a second.

It is the Daytona 500, not the Firecracker 400.  Fans, including myself, want to see the most exciting race in NASCAR finish its full allotment of laps.  NASCAR, the same organization that makes up rules as it goes along, could have finished the race if they wanted to.

Sure, crew chiefs warned their drivers of a rain shower approaching.  All day, FOX commentator Mike Joy warned fans of rain.  We knew the rain was coming, and we braced ourselves for it.

At Lap 90, drivers began racing like it was Lap 190.  Cars began to slide around the track.  Moves began to get bolder, and the tension rose.  Let's not forget that it was not even half way yet.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the fan favorite, maybe made one of the most influential moves of the race causing a multiple car wreck heading into Turn Four that wrecked top cars such as Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.

What time was this all taking place?  Oh, around 5:45 PM.

Wait, why was that all going on so late in the afternoon, and it was barely even half way?  Did they wreck a lot at the beginning?  Was it a slow building race?

No, actually the race was going along smoothly.  There had been three cautions prior to halfway. 

The reason this all took place so late in the day is because NASCAR has made a mistake starting the race at approximately 3:40 PM.  3:40 PM?  Yes, 3:40 PM.

What happened to the 2:00 PM starts you ask?  Oh, they decided to throw that out the window for TV.  Remember, it is all about TV. 

So that extra one hour and 40 minutes that was cut back cost us the last 48 laps.

Thank you, NASCAR, for shortening our days.