Nobody wins in situations like this past weekend at Daytona. Kurt Busch was suspended for possible domestic abuse that finally hit my beloved sport. Unthinkable. I’m quite sure the timing of the courts ruling and subsequent suspension was directed right at this weekend and also pretty sure that Kurt has a serious anger problem. His brother, Kyle, almost left a permanent mark on an inside wall during a horrific accident. It would leave him broken, some fans cheering and NASCAR scrambling twice in just that many days to address controversy.
Qualifying changes were unsettling and twitter ran amuck with a trending “Im in Daytona and have a helmet”.
That was superb by the way.
The truck race thrilled the spectators that came, which were unfortunately sparce. I just don’t get that. The truck races are by far the most action packed two hours lead by great drivers turning absolute mayhem into a science, usually ending in an upside down finish where mayhem returns. The only thing better would be to watch them all race supercharged minivans.
Popular drivers were sent to the back of the field for the 500 and early exits of serious contenders left some fans dejected. As I sat inside Hall of Fame Suite 404, I sighed. This would be the last race for the backstretch. The seating was sold to Phoenix and in 2016 Daytona Rising would be complete. They are going to call it the first autoracing stadium. Nothing about that seemed good or appealing, just more expensive and less sentimental.
Then the day brightened and the race got interesting with back to back exits of Ford machines including Brad Kaselowski. The cautions brought three wide racing and the new fever that there could be a checker that would be just nuts. Strategy and poor lane choices would keep us all on edge and the bets on Danica’s finishing spot were getting heated. Jokes about Denny Hamlin and the Busch brothers flew out of every mouth and the day was looking up.
Then it happened. The race ended and Joey Logano won in a Green / White / Checker finish that only Joey fans loved. Jeff Gordon, who is retiring after this season was wrecked in the final seconds after a great day and Dale, Jr finished a tremendous third, which is still never good enough for his fans. Why doesn’t he just use a tiny piece of his fender? Because he is not his father, who I still miss.
Then began the complainers on every social media platform. Kyle was in surgery and Kurt’s final appeal was denied sending him to an announcers booth near you. Nobody seemed happy.
Except Logano who was there at the right time and won his first Daytona 500… and me because I was there to be a part of it all. One more plus? No tornado warnings and Jeff Gordon looked stout. His last year might just be fantastic. The Thunderclap of cars and the upgrade that all tracks will have to do, more soft walls, was encouraging. It’s all about perspective. This from a Tony fan whose car almost came in dead last.
My daughter met a legend and spent time talking about their courtship and we met great new fans who shared the passion for racing as we did. We signed our names on the finish line and Dee found out that she loved photography.
Not one of us shared a favorite driver in our suite and only one person cheered for Joey when he won but we all had a great weekend together.
Thank you Leonard Wood and Wood Brothers Racing for making our day and for every driver who made us stand up, chew our finger nails and make our hearts skip a beat.
Life is about perspective. Through change, the good and the bad, I have made memories with my family. That’s all that really matters.
The rest is just the unwanted vegetable on the plate of our childhood.
Get well Kyle. I can’t believe I just wrote that.