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ARCHIVES: NASCAR Opinions by Spike2
February 14,1999
The Daytona 500

The season has started....... In a roar of engines that have been quiet for almost 3 months, Daytona lit up like a holiday with too many people waiting too long to celebrate. With those immortal word "Gentleman Start Your Engines" the crowd went wild. The anticipation hung in the air over the track for the first Winston Cup race of the season and the expectations were high. The fans were not disappointed. Well some were....the Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, and Dale Jarrett fans to name three. As for the drivers I am not sure who was more disappointed Rusty, Dale, or DJ. But for the overall race fan's view, it was a GOOD race.....for a restrictor plate race.

I really thought Rusty Wallace had a good shot at the win. He was strong all day, he had a good drafting partner and he had the patience that a true champion needs. But what he didn't have was grip. "Tire Grip!" Not stopping for that final yellow flag pit stop was a big gamble and may have paid off IF his tires were a bit better. He had it in the bag with the fuel mileage, and had it stayed green flag racing he had a real good shot at winning. The gods of tire wear did not smile down on Rusty Sunday. It was another disappointment for such a talented driver.

It looked as if Earnhardt was going to get another shot at winning the 500 and making it two in a row, but as we saw it was not to be. That would have been a nice feather in his cap. It would have shut the naysayers up that his last year's win was a fluke. Coming in second Sunday proved it was no fluke. He had the car, he had the determination, but he did not have the position. You have to be leading to win. He never lead a lap the entire race. He tried, but he had to battle his #1 pupil for that lead. Someone who has been watching and learning all there is to know from the master himself. Some one who is a quick study and knows how to use what he learned. You could see it in those last few laps. Gordon held off Earnhardt like we have seen Dale do numerous times in the past. Gordon showed Earnhardt what others had seen before him....the tail end of the winning car.

This time it was Jeff Gordon's turn. His day in the sun! What a way to start the season. If this race was the harbinger of things to come we will be seeing a lot of dueling between Dale and Jeff this season. Buckle up and prepare for an exciting season.

Exciting? I'll say! There is nothing like a 5 or 10-lap shoot out between the best of the best and seeing who will come out on top. There's is nothing like 3 wide in the corner, or drafting and passing during critical laps. Pit stops strategies rank right up there too. Let's hope the coming season is an exciting and safe one for all to enjoy.

Kudos to Ned Jarrett for not freaking out when his son Dale got tapped by his teammate and spun for the second caution of the day. Fortunately we saw DJ get out of his car unhurt before we saw the replay and finding out it was his car that did the roll over we briefly saw in some of the replays. Scary enough to see it post accident and know DJ was ok then to see it first off and have to wait to see how he was.

I'm not going to give CBS great marks on the race coverage. It was adequate, but it was typical CBS coverage. They know how to cover a football game, but are totally lost on how to cover a race. Their only saving grace....they had good announcers in the booth.

The Bonehead Award will remain in the closet this week. But I am sure it will not stay there long or very much this season.

If you don't agree you can reach me here, and you agree or just want to comment, also feel free to email me.

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