Each year, I look forward to the Daytona 500 with great anticipation. This year was no different. In fact, this year may have been more anticipated than some in the past because of issues with the economy. The result of the race, Matt Kenseth winning in a rain shortened event, was less than desirable when considering that NASCAR needed to start the season off with a bang. A bang, it was not. I do, however give all credit to Matt Kenseth for his success. Matt Kenseth is the 2009 Daytona 500 winner. There! I’ve said it. He will go into the history books and will forever be recognized as a driver who won the 500. Every race is different and this one happened to end early due to rain. I know some people would have liked NASCAR to wait and see if they could have dried the track but that is debatable. Matt is a deserving driver who made the right moves to get in position to win at the right time. Plus, now I can say that I’ve beaten the 2009 Daytona 500 winner, head to head, in a go kart race. No. I will not let that go.
Who to Blame
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had an eventful day. He missed his pit box, twice and was involved in the cause of the BIG ONE. It is interesting to hear what fans think about the Earnhardt/Vickers incident. I call it a racing deal under the current rules. Earnhardt had a huge run on Vickers and was able to get under him (a little). Vickers then blocked him into the infield grass. Is Earnhardt wrong for trying to pass? Is Vickers wrong for blocking? Earnhardt did lose control, momentarily, and hit the back of Vickers car, thus he will take most of the responsibility for this incident. I don’t believe that he did it on purpose, though. He was WFO and had a great run when he was blocked heavily. That is a tough situation and he lost it. Brian Vickers obviously felt differently about it, but how could he really know?
The real problem is, once again, with the yellow line rule. Drivers know that they can use the line to protect their position and as long as they get there first. They are, then, justified by the rules. That is why Vickers cranked the wheel so hard when he blocked Earnhardt. Todd Bodine was in a similar situation in the truck race. On Bodine’s first incident, he was penalized for going below the yellow line, the second time he wrecked someone. That seems to be the only choice for the trailing driver, put it on the yellow line and hold it WFO. If another driver tries to block you and wrecks himself and the whole field, that is his problem. Regan Smith would have benefited from making that choice at Talladega. Todd Bodine won his race.
California is this weekend, the true start of 2009. I’m setting the over/under on attendance at 60,000 people (I’d like your guess in the comment section). Can Kenseth make it two in a row? If so, my resume will keep getting better.