Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Daytona Finally Runs

[Martinsville, '09]

It seems like the France family thinks they can run their little universe by edict, and like the Red Queen, their word is law and the hell with, oh, physics and/or logic. It starts with the bizarre idea that the first race of the season is actually its championship or "super bowl." Following this logic, it's not surprising that the greatest participating driver, 5-time champ Jimmie Johnson, would be crashed out of the event on lap 1, and by a guy who was demoted to Nationwide last year no less. Also removed from the field on this first lap crash was the "big draw" of 2012, Danica Patrick (yeah, she did return, and drove with the pack some sixty laps down--what a depressing chore that must have been). Later another multiple champ, Jeff Gordon, had his engine blow up with no warning. I went to bed long before the blessed end of the event, which had been delayed for hours after a driver ran into a fuel filled drying machine and caused a raging fuel fire which melted the track.

At least no one was killed, although Johnson had a close call, living through a side-impact crash which happened after his initial crash left him sitting crosswise to oncoming traffic and obscured by the smoke and debris. He eventually flew home before the end of the race, the implications of that being perhaps that as a father and husband he's starting to see a possible life after racing. After all, what does a 5-time champion have to prove anyways? Surely not that even the much safer cars developed in the post-Earnhart era are not totally fail-safe.

So then, I'm wondering if even Kyle Petty will have the temerity to say the obvious, sometime this week, as the show heads on to Phoenix. The "management" has toiled in the off-season to make the Sprint Car close to undrivable, and thus much more dangerous, in the service of trying to end the undeniably annoying tandem racing that developed the last time they fooled with the engineering of the vehicles. What a mess. And when will somebody finally admit that having a restrictor plate race for the "super bowl" of NASCAR happen on the first race of the season makes sense only if you live "down under," where February is actually November, and Christmas is a-commin' on the 4th of July.

At least it made sense for Romney to be there for the rainout, and for both Paul and Santorum to have placed political ads on also-rans. NASCAR is at the moment modelling the "clown car" show that is the Republican Party, 2012. One of the clowns said over the weekend that if gas prices go down in October, it'll be Obama's October Surprise. He also said that Obama wants gas to go to $10 a gallon. It's no wonder one of the clowns derides college education. An educated base would laugh all of them out of the hall.

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