Unlike other sports the Cup series starts its season with its largest event on its most historic track as the Daytona 500 is sometimes referred to as NASCAR's Super Bowl. This race has proven to be so elusive to so many great drivers over the years and perhaps no win in its history is more noteworthy than Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s when he finally won the event in 1998.
In recognition of the 10th anniversary of this momentous event a special diecast has been created in Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s memory and this unique design will collaborate the paint scheme of his 1998 winning car along with the new design of the COT. Pre-orders are now being taken at racingusa.com. I wish I had room for another die cast!! Okay I need to make some room.
The Daytona 500 is also unique in the way that its qualifying is set up as only the front row are set to start there after initial qualifying while the rest of the field remains to be set with only the top 35 positions being guaranteed a spot in Sunday's event. On Thursday 2 Gatorade Duel events will be held which will then set up the inside and outside rows respectfully making the starting lineup final. Of course any type of major changes including engine, transmission, or the need for a back up car will result in those drivers going to the back of the field come race day but as history has proven, when it comes to restrictor plate races the necessity of a good starting spot isn't anywhere near as important as it would be on a short track, road course, or even an intermediate track where good track position is much more essential. The COTs appeared to perform exceptionally in the draft in Saturday's event and with Sunday's race being 500 miles I think we're in for a really great race!
When it comes to "practice", Allen Iverson's press conference makes me smile every time that I see it…. :P…sorry I really thought it was funny and I thought he was right too!….but NASCAR's "practice" involved some extra curricular activity "allegedly" in the NASCAR hauler (kind of like being called to the principals' office) which wasn't so funny as reports say that Tony Stewart "allegedly" punched Kurt Busch in the face. :O The season hasn't even begun and Tony Stewart has already hit someone…and not with his car. I'm sorry if I sound a bit jaded as Tony Stewart is one of the greatest drivers in the world no doubt but sometimes his emotions get the better of him at times. We're yet to hear of any fines or reprimands as NASCAR appears to be keeping the issue under wraps carefully…after all it was…"practice." I love when ESPN shows Allen Iverson talking about "practice" and they even made a humorous reference to it in a commercial of his awhile back with….I think it was Carmello Anthony. Hmmm…since I'm kind of talking about basketball right now I'd just like to say that I hope that Shaq performs well with the Phoenix Suns as I'm a fan of theirs! 🙂 Bill Walton really shouldn't have said those things about him and I think it was so unnecessary. 😦 Wait, not to forget about Kurt Busch the alleged recipient of Stewart's fist, he has been punched before by a very angry Jimmy Spencer after making some very controversial remarks on his in-car radio during a race event involving "pay back and the wall" and it was kind of eerie how Busch's car actually ran out of gas right in front of Mr. Spencer's trailer after the race. Can you imagine Jimmy's surprise in seeing Busch seemingly stop right in front of his "doorstep?" I'm not a Kurt Busch fan but I don't dislike him in any way but perhaps this history of being punched has more to do with him than the one throwing the fist… Jimmie Spencer was suspended for a race that year and some of the fans at Bristol Motor Speedway were holding up signs that read "Free Jimmy!" :O
I've seemed to have gotten off track here…no pun intended… :P…Jimmie Johnson the 2 time defending series champion and my
second favorite driver (behind or maybe beside Jeff Gordon….let's call it a tie right now)…my tied for first favorite driver barely edged out Michael Waltrip for Sunday's pole position starting spot and it's really nice to see Michael Waltrip on the front row after last year's unfortunate event. I think he's a really nice person and while last year's violations really looked bad it's good to see him in a position to redeem himself to his fellow drivers and fans alike at this year's event. 🙂 Toyota struggled for the most of last season with their Camry making its debut into the series but this year looks to be much stronger for them as early testing and the Budweiser Shootout has evidenced. Any sport can further excel with increased diversity and Toyota brings just that and their timing seems to be just right for this series. It took awhile for Toyota to grow in the Craftsman Truck series but they've really persevered there and are now enjoying the benefits of their R&D and great dedication and likewise I think they will become a force to be reckoned with in NASCAR's top series now called the Sprint Cup. Most notably is Joe Gibbs Racing moving from Chevy to Toyota this season and with drivers such as Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and J.J. Yeley their future looks really bright in this new manufacturing marriage.
So much to look forward to this season and the excitement that is NASCAR has already begun…