Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Daytona 500 a remarkable reminder.

Some may say Sunday was the best Daytona 500 ever? Probably not. Was it well worth, watching? Definitely yes.
There were a record number of lead changes, a record number of yellow flags (the four hours even for us faithful was a bit long), and a record for the youngest winner.
But maybe the best part was not that Trevor Bayne, at age 20, was the youngest winner. It was that a part-time team, the history-rich Wood Brothers, could put together a good enough package to win certainly America's biggest race, and let's face it, the world's biggest race.
Just look at it this way. The big budget teams like Hendrick, Roush and Childress certainly were favorites to have a winner. But Bayne winning is comparable to the Los Angeles Clippers winning the NBA title, or maybe the Detroit Lions winning the Super Bowl, or maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates (well no, let's not go too far here), maybe the Washington Nationals winning the World Series, or if Butler had beaten Duke for the NCAA basketball championship last spring.
What also told you volumes about the young Bayne, is how many other drivers and pit crew members congratulated him after the win. If there were some jealous losers, they were certainly in the minority. The fact that Bayne's victory was so well received is a testament to his attitude at such a young age. It's something a lot of veteran drivers should look at and at least try to imitate.
Earlier in the race, when eventual second-place finisher Carl Edwards got on the radio during a yellow flag and tried to hook up with Bayne, the rookie mentioned his car was too fast to go out front in the 2x2 pairings as he was pulling away from would be helpers. It turns out that worked to his advantage in those crucial final two laps. They could catch him, but they couldn't pass him. He hugged that yellow line all the way around to the checkered flag for his first Sprint Cup win in just his second Sprint Cup race.
Remarkable and a reminder that the underdogs can still win.

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