Here are a couple of things to chew on after a less-than-stellar weekend of NASCAR racing:
1. The reason that demolition derbies have fallen out of favour at speedways and county fairs is because there is now at least one in every NASCAR race you watch.
The Nationwide race Friday night at Daytona featured a dandy seconds after winner Joey Logano crossed the finish line and the Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup race on Saturday night featured not one but two at the end.
I swear that winner David Ragan was driving the only undamaged racing car in the place when he pulled into Victory Lane after the 400.
2. If there was ever any doubt, Danica Patrick’s performance in the Nationwide race Friday night sealed the deal. She will leave IndyCar at the end of this season to go racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
With less than 10 laps to go, she’d teamed up with fellow J.R. Motorsports driver Aric Almirola. He pushed her to the front, a move that had 60,000 fans on their feet, cheering. She also took a turn pushing and had Almirola moving through the pack like a freight train.
She’s smelling victory in NASCAR. The only spanner that could possibly gum up the works is the sale last Friday of her primary sponsor, GoDaddy, to an investment company. Although everybody is quick to say that GoDaddy’s marketing philosophy won’t change, there are no guarantees and whether the new owners will continue with the current level of investment in auto racing remains to be seen.
After Logano, Jason Leffler was second in the Nationwide race, Reed Sorenson was third, Kyle Busch was fourth and Justin Allgaier was fifth. Patrick was tenth after being caught up in the last lap Big One.
After Ragan in the Sprint Cup race came Matt Kenseth, who pushed the winner across the line in true Siamese-twin style (that’s how they race at Daytona now – one car pushes another), Logano, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch.
There were 57 lead changes among 25 drivers. The first Big One happened during the first attempt at a green-white-checkers finish and the second ka-boomer took place behind him as Ragan was pushed past the checkers by Kenseth.
I got an email letter from a gentleman who turns 84 next Thursday and says he's been watching auto racing since he was 16. He says what happened at Daytona Saturday night ain't racin'.
I tell you that for what it's worth.
Kevin Harvick is now leading the Sprint Cup standings with nine races left in the regular season. Harvick has the most wins this year – three. Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon all have two.
Carl Edwards is now second in the standings, followed by Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart.
The Sprint Cup cars race again next Saturday night. More bad news for the short tracks.