Clinton, S.C., Sunday, July 6, 2014, 12:03 p.m.
I’m a little late because I’ve been sketching again. Fortunately – wait, that’s not the right word, oh, maybe, opportunistically – it started sprinkling in Daytona Beach shortly after the Coke Zero 400 started, which is more than it ever did on Saturday.
I looked up, and what to my wandering eyes did appear but a spinning Stenhouse with loathing and fear.
This one was a contender magnet. On the farm, they call it culling the herd.
On Twitter, I’m getting Daytona weather reports from people hundreds of miles away. Like me, but I’m not tweeting weather. I generally leave that to the professionals, or at least someone in the area who can, oh, maybe see the clouds.
Maybe I’ll try my hand at World Cup weather. It’d be nice niche for me.
All the racing was single-file. Then all the racing was two-wide. Coincidence? Or perhaps the approach of the halfway point had something to do with it.
In spite of the attrition, I doubt there’s going to be a surprise winner. That was more likely with tandem drafting, when two cars, linked together could sweep into the lead from nowhere. Or even anywhere.
Most of the contenders that remain have been up front, and my guess is that’s the way it’s going to stay.
Another apocalyptic crash. What I just wrote? Forget that. It now appears there will be a surprise winner. It now appears impossible there will be anything but a surprise winner.
Kyle Busch’s Toyota wound up on its roof. Adam Alexander said it wasn’t really a flip. “It was just a delayed reaction to the crash.”
They’re racing to the rain. They act like it’s a hurricane.
Now it’s a rain delay.
This is the Strangely Unfulfilling 400.
The winner is Aric Almirola. He won on account of wrecks and rain. It was No. 43’s eleventh Daytona victory and the first without Richard Petty in the seat. Petty’s 200th and final victory was thirty years, two days, ago. The first time I saw No. 43 win was at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in 1968. It was dirt. I was also there when John Andretti won at Martinsville in 1999.
Of course, I wasn’t there for this one.
What do you know? Juan Montoya won at Pocono in a 500-mile race with twenty-one starters.
Roger Penske just said, “Those guys are racers,” which is what I expected.