This week we were treated to a first in the history of NASCAR. To begin with, we had the first ever rain out of the Daytona 500. This event pushed the race into Monday; but Mother Nature didn’t want the race to be run in the early portion of the day as again rain threatened. Taking the high road, NASCAR postponed the start time until 7pm Monday night. This astute move became the 2nd first of the weekend.
NASCAR in prime time on Monday night. The upside of this was a lot of people who worked Monday were able to see the race, not to mention the impact on TV ratings.
While I am positive somebody, somewhere has had this idea before, and they were probably laughed out of the room, it took place. It suddenly became apparent the Idea of Monday Night racing was seen as a logistic nightmare for the teams and drivers…but for the fans the product on the track was amazing. This was one of the more exciting Daytona 500 races in recent memory, and having it under the lights in prime time just made it that much more spectacular.
Maybe it was the Monday night mojo, or it may have been just a product of the extra day and a half of waiting around, but the on track excitement went through the roof this year. Yes, there were all the normal wrecks every race has, but then fate (or whatever) took over and Juan Pablo Montoya took the cake with his sideways slide into a jet dryer during a caution. This stunt was another first for Daytona. Luckily he and the safety driver in the jet dryer truck were both ok and suffered no major injury. Well, Montoya suffered a major injury called “embarrassment”. He knew his car was having mechanical problems. What do you think he was thinking going so fast under a yellow flag with a crippled car?
After the incredible fire and two hour clean up and delay, the final laps were what you have come to expect of NASCAR restrictor plate racing. Even with the delay many stayed glued to their seats. It came down to the final laps and just cemented the legacy of this year’s race. All in all it made a lot of people see the idea of “Monday Night Racing” may not be a bad thing. In the barren wasteland that is the sporting landscape during February and March an occasional prime time race on Monday night would be good for the sport and give the fans some added excitement. I know I sure enjoyed it. The NFL does it – why not NASCAR?