This weekend’s Daytona 500 left fans talking
The Daytona 500 took place this past Sunday and the drama-filled race left fans plenty of topics to debate about. But maybe the most talked about event that took place happened on the final lap. Aric Almirola took the white flag with Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillion trailing behind him. They came down the backstretch where Austin Dillion would get a run. Almirola threw a block, a similar block that other drivers have been throwing all day. Dillion would stay on the gas and Almirola would get a little too low. This would send Almirola into the wall and give Austin Dillion the lead and the win, giving him his first Daytona 500 win.
Some fans were not happy about what happened on the final lap. They felt it was a dirty move by Dillion and claimed that he wrecked Almirola on purpose. But what is Austin Dillion supposed to do? It’s the last lap of the sports biggest race. He had the momentum and if he lets off he may have lost his position or caused a bigger wreck behind him. At these superspeedways the drivers have no room. They are locked into this area and the only choice you really have is to stay on the gas.
With the rules they way they are now, this is the type of ending NASCAR seems to want. Drivers aren’t aloud to drive below the yellow line, the cars got bigger after gen 4, and Safer barriers extend 30 inches out from the old wall. At these superspeedways, the cars are trapped in a 40-foot cage and have nowhere to go.
This creates the type of racing we see now and it’s why when drivers get aggressive there are big crashes. It’s why when we saw more three-wide racing, everyone was gridlocked. You then add the current issues we saw this year of the cars being unstable and younger drivers than ever, and you get what we got on Sunday. Three “Big Ones”.
Only 11 drivers finished on the lead lap and this wasn’t due to the lead car simply being more dominant. It was due to the three big crashes. Of the 40 cars that entered the race, only 10 cars were left unscathed. Yet NASCAR fans were happy with the product. According to Jeff Gluck’s “Was It A Good Race” poll, 84% of fans voted yes.
So maybe this is the type of product NASCAR fans want, wrecked racecars. Maybe the stereotype is true and NASCAR fan just watch for the crashes. Will this bring fans back? Even if it does, I know there is a group of us out there that will be driven away by this pro-wrecking racing league.