I think that it’s time NASCAR really takes a look at these start times and talks with FOX and NBC. I understand wanting to have a race running at primetime and that it is important for ad space, but this is the second year in a row having a Daytona 500 postponed and it cannot be good for ratings. Something needs to be done, we cannot continue to have the biggest race of the year face this pitfall. We can’t afford to have any race suffer this, but I’d settle for making sure the biggest draw goes on without issue.
After the day started off with a major 16-car pile up that took out a lot of competitors early on, it seemed like this race had the making of an exciting one. Though the five hour rain delay and constant single file racing killed a lot of that momentum. The very last lap was the most exciting part of the race and even still, it didn’t feel like the great finish we wanted.
Michael McDowell and Front Row Motorsports had a great underdog finish, but the race overall was such a snooze fest that the ending just felt like a relief more so than anything. I think that having the big one take place so early on and then having such a long delay really sucked the air out of all the excitement and hype.
Still, a big deal for a team and driver that have stayed loyal to each other for many years and have been fighting for NASCAR relevancy for so long. While this is obviously a fluke win, you have to be happy for everyone involved at Front Row Motorsports. These are one of the few races they get a chance at each year and this is one that no matter what happens to FRM from here on out, they’ll always have the Harley J. Earl Trophy.
On the final lap, it was clear McDowell did not intentionally wreck the Penske boys, but he definitely hit the sweet spot that took them both out of his path. It ended in a fiery crash that everyone thankfully walked away from. Just a bad deal for everyone involved on that last lap. Nobody did anything wrong, it was a racing incident, but you hate to see the Daytona 500 end in a caution and with leaders wrecking.
Not the Daytona 500 we wanted to see, but we got a whole year of exciting storylines to follow. A bad start to the season isn’t going to keep it down.