Daytona Pit Road

2009 Daytona 500 184

(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

Pit road at Daytona International Speedway is looking extremely empty this morning, not pit boxes, no race cars, just plainly, no activity.  That can only be for one reason……..RAIN!

The rain has come to Central Florida!  Although track activities are not scheduled to resume til noon on Friday, it is most likely going to be a wash out.  It would appear that the Nationwide Series qualifying will be cancelled.  The Camping World Truck Series race scheduled to start at 8pm EST is very questionable.  It is all depending when the rain concludes and if the track can get dry in sufficient time for the start time.

However reflecting on the racing Thursday afternoon, it was the most exciting finishes witnessed in years.  The first race was won by Jimmie Johnson by .005 of a second!  That is equivalent to about 4 inches!  For Duel #2 the distance between first place to second place was .015 of a second, about 7 inches!

If that doesn’ excite you, then you need to get involved in another sport, perhaps that Canadian thriller- curling!!

So the activity at the race track is sparse and wet.  It is still to be seen what will happen with the scheduled 8pm Friday night Camping World Truck race, most likely the race will be rescheduled for sometime Saturday.  It will ultimately be the decision of NASCAR and when Speed TV can broadcast that race.


It’s Daytona Time!

2009 Daytona 500 073

(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

If it is February, then it is Daytona time!

As qualifying gets under way for the 2010 Daytona 500, the thoughts of my first visit to “The Great American Race”, back in 2003, run through my head.

As I approached the Daytona International Speedway on International Blvd. on that Saturday morning  before the, then, Busch Series race, goose bumps popped up from my neck to my finger tips!  I was actually at Daytona!  The thoughts of 45 years of stock car racing history at this track was most overwhelming!  I could sense the spirits of all those stock car legends from NASCAR’s past.

Some of those legends from NASCAR’s bygone era are the likes of The Flock brothers, Buck and Buddy Baker, Coo Coo Marlin, Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Bobby and Donnie Allison, A.J. Foyt, Lee and Richard Petty, Tim “Hollywood” Richmond, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Sr., and Junior Johnson, just to name a few!  The atmosphere was, and for that matter still is, very electric!

I was finally at the Daytona International Speedway, a place where racing legends live on forever!  I was there where “The King” Richard Petty won his 200th and final victory.  I was at the  place where a President, Ronald Reagan, crowned a King, Richard Petty, after that 200th victory!  It was indeed overwhelming, but I was determined to let that moment wash all over me……for I knew that it was a special occasion.

For that Saturday Busch Series race, we purchased seats over on the back straight in the Super Stretch seats.  The seats were really pretty good for a last minute purchase, and the view of the spacious racing facilities was spectacular!

One of the highlights of this trip to Daytona, being a member of JUNIOR NATION, was when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Busch Series race in the #8 DEI Chevy.  (After that race, Martin Truex, Jr. took over the ride and eventually won his first Series championship that year!)

The Daytona 500 on Sunday was electrically thrilling, simply put.  Although it was rain shortened, it was still the Daytona 500. It was the second Daytona 500 victory for the  DEI #15 NAPA Chevy driven by Michael Waltrip.  The victory celebration by Waltrip however was a far cry from the subdued celebration in 2001.  That year Waltrip won his first Daytona 500, it was his first “points race” victory, and his first race for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.!  2001 was also the year that his boss, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. lost his life in a last lap turn #3 crash, and the loss was extremely dramatic for the entire auto racing world!

Nevertheless, this was 2003, I was at Daytona, it was exciting, and I will remember that day forever!

So, race fans, it is February and it is definitely Daytona time.

Let’s go racin’ boys!