Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jimmie Johnson wins a very boring Daytona 500

The dominance of the top groove creates some
seriously boring racing at Daytona. 
NASCAR of late has had a problem filling the stands at tracks around the country. The bloom is off the rose, so to speak. Today's Daytona 500 will not help sell the product. Jimmie Johnson held off Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman in one of the most boring Daytona 500's in some time. Even an attempt by FOX to hype up Danica Patrick couldn't help, as drivers opted to drive the new GEN-6 car around the top groove instead of side by side. Any attempt by drivers to drop down generally resulted in the lower line backing up. The result was a long line of single file, nap inducing, 195 mph parade that resembled ball bearings spinning around inside a big salad bowl. To say that there was very little passing is an  understatement.

"You know, one of the things that made it hard to pass was nobody, they wouldn't get organized on the bottom. I think you could because there at the end when they got a good line organized, it got to be pretty dangerous. The problem was that the car on the inside of the frontline wasn't the fastest car. If you would have had the fastest car in the field on the inside, you would have had a whale of a race there at the end. But the top groove was the preferred groove. And I don't think that had a lot to do with the Gen-6 as much as everybody was flying, the cars were fast, and the cars seemed to like the momentum you'd get off the corner." said third place finisher Mark Martin.

"Yeah, I got to agree with Mark." Dale Jr. said. "I thought the car put on a really good show all week. We had a really exciting Shootout, the 125s were pretty racy. The car proved at the end of this Daytona 500 that it will race well and put on a good show. That first 150 miles, everybody commits to the top, there's not enough guys to organize on the bottom, you get freight-trained. There's too much risk. You work all day on track position because you got to be toward the front to have a shot at it. You hate to give up any track position. I saw guys like Gordon pull out, go to the back. Too much of a risk. If I could find a car with a gap in front of it, I had a run, I might have been able to side draft. But you have to be patient with that."

Sprint Cup rookie Danica Patrick also echoed the sentiment. "I mean, I spent most of the day half throttle running behind people. So, you know, when you get in that line, that nice outside line where it's just single file, I didn't feel like it was a wise idea to drop low and try to figure out how to pass. You were going to probably find yourself much further back."

Race winner Jimmie Johnson was a little more expansive. "The majority of the competitors wanted to run the top. The draft really works in numbers. There's more there than the bottom. With the side drafting being as effective right now, you could really choke down the bottom lane and pin a guy against the line and slow him down and then get away and have that long line of cars to surge you past. The game's changed a little bit. It used to be defend the bottom, now it's defend the top. In the closing laps, we were all single file, I was leading, I wanted to see what would go on with the middle or bottom and not allow guys to set me up based on my lines. I ran the bottom and no one had a run or did anything. It was an interesting race. Learned a lot through the course of the race with the new Gen-6 car. At the end when it was time to go, I knew we had a straight racecar with no scratches on it. We worked real hard, we had a game plan down here every time. Even though we were in single-car drafts, we had an agenda and things we worked on and made the car a little bit better each day, kept perfecting it. I had one heck of a racecar today." Johnson said.

There were 28 lead changes among 14 drivers. Much of those were under green flag pit cycles.


Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images

8 comments:

  1. Horrible, Horrible Race! The race was so boring! Nascar racing is becoming boring and has gotten way to politically correct and I am tired of them shoving the diversity thing down our throat! Nascar is turning it's back on the fans who made it popular. It has always been a redneck sport and always will be. You can sprinkle a female a black and a mexican in there but it will always be a redneck sport and the redneck god fearing gun loving fans will always be the majority of the sports supporters . They better becareful in biting the hand that feeds! Keep the politics out of it. If they concentrated on the racing as much as the politics and diversity program they might have provided better racing for the Daytona 500. Lord knows it could of used it!

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    1. We all respect, the quality of the racing at Daytona yesterday has zero to do with any attempts NASCAR is making towards diversity and trying to appeal to a broader audience.

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  2. Dale Earnhardt told Nascar many years ago to get rid of the restrictor plates. Maybe someday they will. Nascar is dead...long live Nascar...
    That was the most boring race I have seen in a long time.......

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  3. It was the most boring race I've seen in a long time. As a part time NASCAR viewer, I'm concerned with the direction the racing is going. I doubt I will be tuning in on future races if this becomes a pattern. I suggest NASCAR do something fast to fix its product or viewers will tune out.

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  4. I have been a NASCAR fan for 20+ years - before it became the "cool" sport to follow. People would tell me how could I stand to watch a race - it was just watching cars drive fast around in circles. I'd try to explain to them that it was a lot more to that - and it wasn't just driving in circles. Well, I hate to admit it but these folks were right - NASCAR is now just cars driving around in circles. NASCAR has ruined Daytona, Talladega - heck, they have even ruined Bristol (would you have ever bet money on a Bristol race being 'boring'??). I really don't know what the answer is but I just know that my love of the sport is quickly vanishing - and I'm sad about that.

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  5. It seems like now at Daytona, the most important race is qualifying since after Sunday's race, if you are up front in the beginning - you'll be up front in the end. Other than that very last restart was there any action. They might just as well turn the Daytona 500 into the Daytona 50 - they really don't need all those laps since only the final few really count. Danica did a good job but I really wonder if she hadn't started on the pole, where would she have ended? NASCAR's truck series is the most exciting out there now to watch - they are more old school than any of the others.

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  6. absolute garbage. I was so bored I started helping my wife vacuum. Afyer the race was over, I grabbed a VHS tape of 1995 brickyard 400, and watched the whole thing. This stuff has to change. Man, Daytona used to be so fun to watch and get excited for. Now it's just.... garbage. Hopefully this week will be better.

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  7. NASCAR IS DEAD, AND I TELL YOU WHY.

    No wonder somebody like Jimmie Johnson thrives in today's NASCAR... I mean COME ON... how slick can you be?! The sport has become flat political b*llsh*t! Diversity has always been an illusion, an electoral point, nobody wants it, really. Why should we get chinatowns, for instance, if people really wanted diversity?! Stop this b*llsh*t!!!

    But this goes to show that NASCAR as we knew it is dead. There's no turning back. Just like oil reserves will deplete (and they will), NASCAR will change or die. Our sport belongs to a world which is dying, and almost already forgotten, a world where people smoked, drank, made love, got hurt, laughed, cried, GRABBED STUFF BY THE HORNS, for heaven's sake!

    Maybe some day, a series will rise that's run by punks like France Sr. used to be, and then we may see some racing again. Till then, so long NASCAR!

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Comments welcome. Let 'er rip!