Daytona 500: My Top 10 Observer-ations

Daytona 500: My Top 10 Observer-ations

10. NASCAR fans are loyal and rabid and ... strange. I asked a guy who he was rooting for before Sunday's Daytona 500 here in Florida and his answer: "Dodge." Imagine NFL fans picking their favorite team based on whether they wore Nike or Reebok or Under Armour.

9. All the yellow cautions - a record 16 - were fascinating, yet frustrating. Time and again a car would get out to a nice lead, only to have somebody behind him wreck and then be bunched back together at the re-start. Seems to me somehow the lead needs to stay in place upon re-start, but I guess that'd be almost impossible to replicate each time?

8. Best Daytona T-shirt: "Beer for Boobs. 1 for 2 Special."

7. The line to get a photo taken in front of Dale Earnhardt's statue was an hour long. I kid you not.

6. Brad Paisley was the pre-game musical act. Never really got him but from my seat in Turn 1 I was definitely in the minority.

5. Only the Daytona 500, or perhaps a Super Bowl, could bring together under one pre-race tent: Steve Spurrier, Glenn Beck and Fergie. Weird.

4. Stepped into and onto an RV Sunday that cost $1.2 million. Heated marble tile on the floor. Intricate maple wood with crown moulding in the bunk bedroom. High-def flat screens on the walls. A bar that cost $2,000 to stock. A built-in ice chest that holds 800 beers. And a perfect perch that stretches 19 feet above the ground for viewing the racing. The six guys - from Pennsylvania - were in Florida for 12 days camping out in luxury. If that's possible.

3. Didn't have a dog in the hunt but I was pulling for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Seemed like most everybody else was too. And when we all got quiet and gave the No. 3 hand tribute on Lap 3, it was eerie.

2. Exciting finish, but I'm not sure I'm down with Daytona's new pavement that creates faster cars and, in turn, teamwork amongst non-teammates. At times it looked more pairs skating than single-driver auto racing.

1. Trevor Bayne won the race a day after turning, get this, 20 years old. At 20 I was driving a Pontiac Fiero and having to always park it on a downhill as to get it coasting and then pop the clutch to start it. Was listening on the driver/team radio signal when Bayne got the checkered flag, realized he won and yelled "Is this a dream?! I don't even know where to go? What do I do now?!" Very cool.

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