So this is how we celebrate the "Super Bowl or Racing?" I'm not going to pretend to be some NASCAR aficionado - I was born and raised in Cleveland (we're as interested into NASCAR as we are the Pittsburgh Steelers ) and I just started paying attention a few years ago when a sports anchor at another station said, "You know Anthony, people watch this and want the news, so you better at least feign interest."
After covering the sport up close and personal last year in Daytona for WTAP, I did grow somewhat fond of the sport. Being there for Speed Week was a memorable experience. Interviewing drivers, crew members, fans and other journalists helped cultivate a new perspective. I actually could pick Jimmie Johnson out of a lineup by week end. No such luck with Aric Almirola.
From the green flag yesterday and the signature "let's go racing boys," I was roped in. Daytona always seems to have close, if not controversial finishes. Last night was definitely the exception. For only the 4th time in the 51 years of the "Great American Race," the drivers did not finish the full race. What a bummer for the hundreds of thousdands of fans in attendance and the millions watching at home. Is a checkered finish too much to ask? How about a sudden death lap? Matt Kenseth was only in the lead at the end because he was fortunate enough to avoid Dale Earnahardt Jr.'s poor decision making.
Or how about just moving the race back to a noon or 1 pm starting time? How many westcoast racing fans are their really? Probably as many as there are from Cleveland. What do you guys think? It was an extremely disappointing finish - hopefully not a sign of things to come in 2009 for NASCAR.