Some bookmaker in Las Vegas has got Danica Patrick at 1,000 to one to win the Daytona 500.
I’d like that bet. In fact, I hope a whole bunch of people slap ten bucks down on Danica and maybe put the guy out of business if she should happen to win on Sunday (Fox/TSN2 at noon).
Who’s to say it won’t happen? Some kid named Trevor Bayne won it a year ago and, like Danica, he was a rookie.
He got lucky. Who says lightning can’t strike twice?
You can have all the talent in the world and win all sorts of other races and still roll snake eyes at Daytona.
Take Tony Stewart. He’s won the Sprint Cup championship three times and had 13 kicks at the Daytona 500 can and he still hasn’t won it.
It took Dale Earnhardt, arguably the greatest racer of his generation, 20 shots (count ‘em, 20) before he won his one and only. One of the times he lost came on the third turn of the last lap when he was leading and a tire went down. Darrell Waltrip ran the 500 17 times before he won.
Which means it’s virtually impossible to pick a winner going into Sunday’s race. Too many things can go wrong, starting with the potential to wreck.
Last Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout started with 25 cars and 12 of them failed to finish the 75-lap feature because of three big crashes. The 500 on Sunday will start 43 and go for 200 laps and does anybody really think that any more than 20 will be running competitively at the finish?
Everybody — including the drivers — thinks it’s wonderful that NASCAR has managed to fiddle enough with the aerodynamics to bring back “pack racing” on superspeedways like Daytona.
“Pack racing” is why, when somebody loses control, just about everybody else winds up crashing.
“Pack racing” is what killed Dan Wheldon. IndyCar is doing everything it can not to have a repeat.
Not NASCAR. Bring it on.
For what it’s worth, I’ll be cheering for Tony Stewart on Sunday. If he can’t win, I want Jimmie Johnson.
I hope Danica Patrick drives a solid race.
And if anybody knows how I can get a little of that 1,000-to-one Vegas action, I have a sawbuck to waste.
Or maybe not.
Because, when it comes to the Daytona 500, you never know.