Yes, now we can smell the start of the NASCAR season, as it's less than one week away before the first points race. Of course, you've got the Daytona twin qualifying races Thursday afternoon to wet your appetite. I've followed NASCAR for years and never tried to figure out how the drivers that need the transfer spots to get into the 500 get them. It's just too complicated and I'd rather just watch what will hopefully be some good racing.
Which brings me to the Bud Shootout.
The first NASCAR competition on the new pavement at Daytona was I thought, a little disappointing at the end. Yes, they can say there were more lead changes in those 187 plus miles than there have been in 25 Daytona 500s, but what really matters is coming down to the end how many guys had a chance for the win? The answer was four and that's not a good number. If the answer had been 12 or 15, OK, I can live with that. If the answer had been more than 20, now that would be better. NASCAR won't likely let a four-car pack control the final laps in the 500 Sunday, they may pay somebody to throw some debris on the track to cause a yellow, to bunch the field back up if that happens.
So, let's just hope the 500 has a better finish than the Bud Shootout.
And for the record, I've always hated the yellow line rule. Either you can pass'em or you can't.
On to Junior.
Yes, everyone is loving it that he's on the pole after Sunday's qualifying. There are two things to say about that: 1) It should be no surprise. He loves Daytona and it is probably one of the few places where he still have confidence to go fast. 2) Where you start at Daytona is pretty much meaningless, except for the fact that if you start up front it might help you avoid "the big one" early in the race. But that stuff usually happens later when everyone forgets they're going 206 mph and starts bumping each other around.
Don't get me wrong. I like Junior, though he's not my favorite, he's a easy to pull for. If he would happen to win at Daytona it would be great for him and the sport, but winning Daytona does anything but guarantee success for the rest of the season.
And one last bit: Darrell Waltrip's new word when it comes to drafting, coopitition, yeah, I'm into it, even though I often agree more with what Larry McReynolds says than what Darrell says.
Later this week, I'll have my season picks to make the top 12 Chase for the Championship.