Thursday was go or go home day for 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. I was down on pit road after the second Gatorade Duel race and was right there when Jeremy Mayfield and AJ Allmendinger got out of their cars after they raced their way in to Sunday's 51st running of the Daytona 500.
The look on their faces, and their crew guys and family, was priceless. Mayfield Motorsports didn't exist a month ago and Dinger lost his guaranteed starting spot the week before the Budweiser Shootout. For the first time in a while they, along with Scott Riggs and Regan Smith, will get a somewhat comfortable night's sleep tonight because they are in.
However, there were a bunch of guys not so lucky. Boris Said, Geoff Bodine, Kelly Bires, and Kirk Shelmerdine are among the guys who will load it up and head for home tonight. I can't begin to imagine what they are thinking. Bodine and Shelmerdine planned to run the entire season. I wonder if those plans have now changed.
Thursday was a long, hot day at Daytona. My feet ache and I'm a little sunburned. I got a story into the pre-race show, and it didn't go over as well as I'd hoped, but it was still there. Basically it goes like this: when it was time to talk about Dale Earnhardt Jr, I suggested to the producer and the talent guy that we should say nothing (in the best Seinfeld fan-way I can.) And he did. And it was gonna be great but the people in the stands really didn't get what we were trying to do. Oh well, I tried.
Tomorrow I'll get to sleep in for a bit, then it's back to the track for Nationwide qualifying and the Camping World Truck Series race tomorrow night. That event is always fun to watch because their is side-by-side racing and beating and banging. There's a full-field of trucks tomorrow night and most of those guys need a good showing to stay on track for the full season.
As always I'll have more from Daytona throughout the weekend.