Daytona 500

You might recall that a few months ago, Camp Willow Creek joined forces with Jane Drive and crashed The SoCar lair of Nansox for the Bank of America 500. Or you might not, because chances are, I forgot to write about it.

Anyway, we created a little NASCAR monster that fateful fall day.

Nancy, Jason and I just got back from our first Daytona 500. The first thing that struck me about this whole experience was that Daytona International Speedway and Lowes Motor Speedway have little in common other than a big paved oval.

I know its kind of a lame thing to talk about, but the parking was super organized and super easy at the super speedway. I guess after 50 years of practice, they should be expected to get a few things right. On the other hand, tailgating in Lot 10 was pretty sparse. Which was actually fine because after stopping at every Walmart between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach – this is Florida we’re talking about. Do you know how many Walmarts that is? – looking for rain gear, we were running a little behind schedule.

So we took the bus over to the track and found our seats in Row 4. I couldn’t find a Row 2 anywhere, so this was essentially 3 rows from the track. Very close and very cool. When the cars went by, they were a blur. Luckily, there was a big screen pretty close where we could keep an eye on the action. Also, the PA system was clear and easy to hear, so I thought it was a lot easier to follow what was going on than it was at Lowe’s.

However, being that close has its drawbacks too. From that low a vantage point, its hard to see much of the track. You can see a little stretch right in front of you and you can see the turns to your left and right, but with the size of this speedway and the proximity of our seats, we could barely tell when the cars were near the Grandstand, much less have any idea who was crossing the finish line unless we were watching the big screens. Being higher up at a smaller track like Lowe’s, we could see everything from our seats at Turn 2.

Of course, no one actually crossed a “finish line” Sunday, since the checkered flag was never waived. Rain stopped the race at 152 laps and never let up, so the powers that be called the race. In NASCAR, as long as they complete half of the race (100 out 200 laps, in this case), they don’t have to restart or resume the race and finish it. Whomever is winning when the race is stopped wins. Game Over.

This fact compels sportscasters and fans to discredit the winner. I disagreed. All week forecasters said there would be rain in Daytona on Sunday. Throughout the race, the drivers were getting updates on how close the storm was moving. Presumably, unlike Donovan McNabb, they all know the rules of the sport and were fully aware that once they hit that 100 lap, it could rain and end the race at any time.

So while Daytona was a completely different experience from Lowe’s, it was just as much fun. We’re already talking about our next NASCAR adventure – March 8 in Atlanta – so stay tuned.

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