Out and About

Chase Elliott leads the field to the finish line to win Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, February 16, 2018, 8:22 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

Last night I was pleasantly surprised by the Can-Am Duel(s) in Daytona Beach. They were in Daytona Beach because there is no city in Florida merely named Daytona, but they were at Daytona because there is a speedway and an international one at that.

Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott, second-generation racers full of vitality and hope, won them. They merely set the lineup for the Daytona 500. No one was banished to NASCAR oblivion. All 40 of the racers made the race, and I thought they’d all race with the politeness and etiquette normally associated with, oh, croquet.

“Would you mind if I passed you to the inside, old chap?”

“Why, by all means, old sport. Good show!”

Ryan Blaney takes the checkered flag in Duel 1. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

I was wrong. They were jolly good shows. The heart of Tim Richmond and the spirit of Davey Allison still waft about in the sea breeze, apparently. These bright young stars haven’t had it home-schooled out of them.

Meanwhile, even as I pined for the invigorating sea air, I sat at home, nursing a cold, sneezing with little advance warning, cranking out bios of county hall of famers, and preparing to watch balls bounce with alarming regularity in two far-flung locales later today. Girls will bounce them in the afternoon, boys at night, and I’ll be typing away furiously as I try in vain to keep up. I’ll probably file the last of the copy and ship a few photos from the official late-night filing home of locally based journalists, McDonald’s, where the coffee is hot and the wi-fi reliable.

The batteries are charged, if not for the soul, then the camera, and once this ordeal is complete, I’ll be able to watch the racing in peace for the weekend.

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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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