Mulling Over the Daytona 500
Random thoughts while I negotiate a guaranteed starting spot in the Daytona 500.
Two words: Ward Burton.
My favorite linguistically challenged driver will be back in NASCAR at Daytona in the Camping World Truck Series race. I am going to Daytona just to watch. Well, that and my buy-a-ride for the 500.
Wal-Mart will be sponsoring Bill Elliott at the summer race in Daytona. It is the retail giant’s first big foray into race sponsorship. I hear they are going to bring tons of equipment to work on the car, but only one person to use it all.
So, Stewart-Haas Racing struck a deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing to ensure that Danica Patrick has a guaranteed starting spot in the Daytona 500. Patrick and her No. 10 car get the 2011 points from Dave Blaney, who finished 33 in the final points standings.
The top-35 from last year have guaranteed spots in the first five races of this season. Patrick is running 10 Cup races this year in addition to her full Nationwide Series schedule. David Reutimann will be in the other 26 races in the No. 10 car.
Let me be the first to say, I don’t care. I have heard whining and complaining about her being locked in the race because NASCAR wants her in the race. That may be true, but this was but one of the ways they could have made it happen and probably the cleanest.
If it came down to it, Tony Stewart could have put her in the No. 14 and he could have driven the No. 10. Patrick would have been locked in from last year’s owner’s points on the car and Stewart would have raced with a past champions provisional. It’s not like this type of stuff doesn’t happen all the time.
NASCAR vowed to release all fines and penalties to the media this year. So … no more double-secret probation. What will the conspiracy theorists write about now?
Kudos to Sprint and NASCAR for bringing back the preview. I went to the event a couple of weeks ago in Charlotte and it was good to see NASCAR doing something for their fans, who lined up in the cold and rain the day before and camped out overnight to get autographs. Gotta love those crazy race fans.
In all seriousness, the Bud Shootout needs to get here. I actually watched the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona last week.
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