First off, congrats to local boy Aric Almirola for winning the Coke Zero 400 today at Daytona.
But the reason Almirola was able to be sitting in first place on pit road when the rains stopped the race was because of NASCAR's ridiculous aero package at restrictor plate tracks.
NASCAR honchos want the guys driving around in a big pack all race long so they can tease the fans with endless talk of "THE BIG ONE." The massive wreck that looks so fabulous in slow motion and on SportsCenter replays all night. And they got it today . . . in spades.
Two huge wrecks took out literally half the field and pretty much every big name driver save one or two. Stupid. Helton, France, et al., have worked hard ever since the days of the two-car tango, to make sure that restrictor plate races are like road races -- get out in front, and no one can pass you. They just zip around the track in a 200mph 3-wide pack with the announcers waxing breathless about their proximity and reaction time and whatever else they can do to make the moving traffic jam exciting.
I mean, who wants a hundred lead changes per race anyway? Where's the fun in watching two guys hook up at the back of the pack and run down the leaders to get out front. Then two different guys. Then two more. Sheesh! How boring! Let's jam them up and hope for a huge wreck . . . much more marketable to low information fans.
And I saw something in the paper recently where they're talking about reducing horsepower and changing the tech packages on the cars to allow lower budget teams to compete. IndyCar, anyone? What's next? Crated engines and prebuilt chassis by one manufacturer for everyone?
What a pity the direction this sport is headed.