Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, February 20, 2015, 11:38 a.m.
I’m digesting the results of Thursday night’s Budweiser Duel(s).
And breakfast. The link sausage I bought at Sam’s Club is tasty.
I’m delighted David Ragan made the Daytona 500. His was the good thing that happened as a result of Danica vs. Denny. I’m glad Patrick made it. I found her post-race confrontation with Hamlin wildly amusing. This morning a friend called and remarked that he could see why Hamlin hasn’t gotten married. “Putting your hands on a woman’s shoulder and saying, ‘Now, honey, settle down …’ that never works,” he said.
Perhaps I should now write “all kidding aside,” but, sorry, I can’t.
What have we learned? Well, the front row is made up of Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Johnson and another Hendrick pilot, Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the 150-milers. It appears to me that Earnhardt’s car is the fastest, but that’s not conclusive because I didn’t have Johnson’s presence in the first race to provide a direct means of comparison.
If someone else wins the Daytona 500, all this apparent gathering dominance will be quickly forgotten.
Jeff Gordon could win because he’s fast and smart. The way he kept Joey Logano’s Ford at bay in the final laps of the former qualifier erased any possible demonstration by Logano that Earnhardt could be had.
Fate runs up front at Daytona like a green-flag pace car. The winner will be the driver who best latches on. Fate will smile on some and scowl at others.
At Daytona International Speedway, Kevin Harvick is a diabolical mastermind in addition to being the reigning Sprint Cup champion. Watch him. He’s sneaky.
Gordon and Matt Kenseth are fast and smart. Tony Stewart is overdue for Fate to smile. Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Logano also have the knack of being skillful at Daytona without the 500 victories to prove it to the masses.
Just because they’re overdue, though, doesn’t mean this race will be any different. Each race is its own roll of the dice. They don’t tumble with knowledge of how they earlier tumbled.
In the second duel, Ragan and Patrick made the race after seeming to have no chance with just a few laps remaining. Those races were 150 miles apiece. Imagine how many more Cinderella stories are possible amid the 200 laps/500 miles of Sunday, factoring in the scrutiny, the pressure, the emotions, the slings, the arrows, the miscellaneous other outrageous fortune, “the pomp, the pageantry, the human drama of athletic competition.”
For those who still remember where we once upon a time got our Daytona 500 coverage.
BUH, buh, buh, buh, BUH, buh, buh, buh … THIS is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!
I’m writing about Riley Mansfield (main character in The Audacity of Dope, my first novel) again at www.wellpilgrim.wordpress.com.
If you don’t know Riley already, you can buy the original story, as well as my other books, here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1#