Monday, February 15, 2010

McMurray wins NASCAR's Super Bowl

Image by waynepearson via Flickr
A wild, wild Speedweeks at Daytona is over with Jamie McMurray (pictured taking checked flag at right) winning his first Daytona 500. Speedweeks 2010 was not only wild but will surely go down as one of the best in history. The mutliple rule changes made by NASCAR during the off-season led to exciting racing. Multiple drivers had to go to backup cars due to numerous wrecks in the Bud Shootout, the Gatorade Duel qualifying races, and the multiple practice sessions. Plus, Danica Patrick made her NASCAR debut.

We saw drivers at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to understanding the Daytona 500. Juan Pablo Montoya referred to it as "just another race." On the hand, McMurray was emotional in victory lane after his win, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fought and scrapped his way from 10th to 2nd trying to catch McMurray in the last two laps. Junior understood that The 500 is the one every driver wants to win and second place is just the first loser.

McMurray's tears of joy in victory lane were refreshing as he expressed what every stock car drivers dream is when entering the sport - winning the Daytona 500. It is nothing less than stock car racing's Super Bowl. I doubt that anyone has been as excited or appreciated the victory as much as McMurray since Dale Earnhardt won The 500 in 1998. I'm sure The Intimidator (Earnhardt) was all smiles as he looked down Sunday for two reasons - 1) McMurray appreciated his win and understood the history and prestige of the Daytona 500, and 2) McMurray's team (Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing) was founded by Earnhardt and now has four Daytona 500 victories. On the other hand, I can't help but wonder what Dale would think of Montoya's comments. Personally, it's obvious that Juan Pablo doesn't get it and has no appreciation for the history of NASCAR or The 500. Maybe next year, he should either let someone who appreciates the opportunity to run The 500 drive his car or sit it out altogether giving some other team a chance to race. Better yet, maybe he should just go back to open wheel racing which would open up an opportunity for someone else that gets it to drive his car. There's plenty of other drivers out there who would.
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