The Daytona 500 is coming up this Sunday, a time for new beginnings and a time for bringing things to an end. After 15 years and over a thousand columns of various incarnations, this edition represents my final regular contribution to this site.
Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick. Martin Truex, Jr. Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski. Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott. These men are NASCAR. These men, a few women, and so many others made the sport. Were the sport. Are the sport. Brian France is not NASCAR. There is a reason 97 percent of all family businesses do not survive as such into the fourth generation.
Unstable. Set to go off with the least provocation. No, I’m not talking about CNN or late night talk show hosts, most celebrities, or more than a few politicians. What I am referring to is the Daytona 500.
Family. We often hear how NASCAR is a family sport, where drivers, their wives, and their kids all share in the experience behind the scenes. The family theme has dominated since the sport’s earliest years. I mean, it starts with the France family, as Bill, Bill, Jr., and now grandson Brian have held the reins of the family operation since the very beginning.
Tradition. On Sunday, we learned that tradition means something. We learned it is actually worth waiting for its return, though why it took NASCAR a decade to solve the hot, muggy conditions of a day race in early September by simply moving it to the evening still boggles the mind.
I assume you're a racing fan, so I won't bore you with the obligatory explaining of every minute detail when it comes to beating and banging and the competition and heartbeat of what makes motorsports so thrilling. Racing can be summed up in one word, competition.
Where is the passion? That is one area I have heard presented as to why NASCAR is not as red hot as it once was. There was a time a few members of my family would gather for some of the big races, or any race, to cheer and sneer at our favorites.
From the command to start engine from Victory Junction Gang campers to Brad Keselowski manning the tank to rip up the Kansas track after the race ended, here is what was surprising and not surprising in the 2nd Annual STP 400.