Daytona Down with a Long Way to Go


It's the yellow car, driven by Joey Logano, that won. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

It’s the yellow car, driven by Joey Logano, that won. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, February 23, 2015, 12:23 p.m.

Imagine that you and your wife have enjoyed a nice dinner. You walk out into the Daytona International Speedway trioval grass and tell the kid, who’s wearing cargo shorts, a Bob Marley tee shirt, a backwards cap, and jogging shoes he didn’t get on special, to go fetch your yellow Ford.

Monte Dutton

Monte Dutton

He doesn’t leave. You try to be polite, wondering why he’s waiting, and, then, all of a sudden, you and your wife realize, much to your alarm, that the parking lot is coming to you at slightly over two hundred miles per hour.

Ah, dinner at the Daytona 500! More exciting than breakfast at Wimbledon!

Every Daytona 500 – and every race of the season – will leave questions in its wake. Why, for instance, did NASCAR officials throw the caution flag after a crash occurred behind the leaders on the final lap, particularly since, one day earlier, they had done the opposite at the end of the Xfinity Series race? Joey Logano probably had the race won, but whether the lead is several car lengths, or the leaders are side by side, shouldn’t really be the reason for a call. It would be like it only being a strike if someone swung at it.

Trying to make sense of NASCAR’s madness would leave Sherlock Holmes befuddled.

One would think NASCAR would prescribe more caution for the less experienced drivers in the Xfinity Series. One would be wrong. NASCAR’s braintrust evaluates each situation on its merits, which is to say, it’s impossible to anticipate what they might do.

Joey Logano (Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

Joey Logano (Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

But … it’s a footnote. Logano was a deserving winner. Last year trumpeted his arrival at or near the top of the sport. Now he’s perched on the precipice of superstardom, and just wait till all the talk shows get done with him this week. He might be one of the beautiful people by the time he arrives in Hampton, Georgia. He’ll be making cameo appearances in soap operas in no time.

“I love you, Joey!”

“And I you, my dear. But wait! What’s that sound? Is Heathcliff near?”

Logano is 24, and he’s already got all the merit badges. If NASCAR had Eagle Scouts, he’d be one.

Here comes the parking lot. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Here comes the parking lot. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Next Sunday, it starts all over. The Daytona 500 is the biggest race, but it’s not much like most of the others. Someone who ran near the front at Daytona will magically disappear from sight. It happens almost every year.

Logano may win the Sprint Cup championship, but not because he won the Daytona 500. It’s just the take-off point. It’s not much different from the fan vote in the NASCAR Hall of Fame selection process. Millions together count for one vote out of 59.

That’s about the same as the Daytona 500 in relation to the Sprint Cup championship. Logano has a leg up, but it’s not his. It’s a chicken leg on a blue whale, and not much good in the water.

If you like my writing and feel it gives you a perspective you don’t get elsewhere, feel free to participate materially in my meanderings at my Patreon page here.

I’ve also written seven novels, a volume of short stories, all of which require parental discretion, and several other books that are suitable for the whole family. You can buy them on my Amazon page here.

Signed copies of three of the novels are for sale at two uptown Clinton locations, L&L Office Supply and Emma Jane’s Gifts.


About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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One Response to Daytona Down with a Long Way to Go

  1. Annie says:

    Good hustle and cool thinking Joey, you stayed ahead of the pack. That Ford was fast!!!!!! Congrats to Ford and Team Penske, enjoy the attention!

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