DAYTONA, FL (WWBT) - Well, so much for the great weather in Daytona. I was counting on 70s everyday and sunny skies, but rain on my first work day here has pushed all the practices back a few hours. These showers are supposed to be short, so hopefully cars will get on the track by noon.
While the drivers have had some laps on this new pavement, some extra would help. NASCAR announced today they are going to a smaller restrictor plate, making the cars 2 to 3 mph slower than the Budweiser shootout. Kyle Busch and Michael Waltrip both posted times of 206 during the race. As I write this (11 a.m.) it's beginning to rain again, so we continue to have trouble this morning.
This is my third time covering a Daytona 500, and each time there's been a surprise winner. I was here in 2008 when Ryan Newman was pushed by Kurt Busch to victory, and I was here last year when Jamie McMurray held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the biggest accomplishment in his racing career.
So does that mean we'll have another shocking winner? Possibly. As the drivers go two by two around this track, we'll sit and watch for hours, but we'll still have no idea who's going to win this thing until the last 5 laps or so.
It might be Denny's turn to get some good luck and win this thing. In five career Daytona 500's, he has only two finishes in the top 25, and those were 17th twice. He raced well here Saturday, and there's no reason to think that he would struggle here this weekend. He is speaking this afternoon, and I'll let you know what he says later in this space.
One more thing - spent some good time with Jeff Burton today. One of the classy guys in this sport, very respected, very successful, but not the guy that you'd pick when someone asked "Who are the best drivers in the sport?" I'll have more with Burton on television -- check out NBC12 at 6 and 11 today.
Who would you say are the best drivers in the sport?