Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscar wins Daytona

So now Daytona is in the books and so are the Oscars, and let me just say that was one hell of a drive Eddie Redmayne put on. And doesn't Danica have a set of pipes?

Odd convergence of events on George Washington's Birthday, and it left me with an odd jumble of thoughts. I wish Jeff Gordon had won his last Daytona, and I wish Benedict Cumberbatch had won best actor for "The Imitation Game." I wish every driving instructor in America would show students those last 30 laps at Daytona as an example of how to drive in expressway traffic, and I wish  2015 hadn't been the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music, which I loathe and despise with every molecule of my being.

(This goes back, well, 50 years. I was a 10-year-old boy whose favorite TV show was "Combat." So my mom drags me off to see this interminable film about singing nannies and mountains and singing couples falling in love and disgustingly well-behaved children who are constantly singing while they climb mountains. You can imagine).

(But I have to say, even though I sat through the tribute thinking dark thoughts about how you could really solve a problem like Maria, Lady Gaga's musical tribute was stunning. That woman can carry a tune).

Meanwhile, back at Daytona ...

No, Eddie Redmayne didn't win. Joey Logano did, and hats off to him. And hats off also to Clint Bowyer, because at Daytona you're only as good as your friends, and Bowyer was a pretty good friend.

It was Bowyer who pushed Logano to the lead up there on the outside line, and after that it was Logano's race to lose.  A lot of times at Daytona you don't want to be the guy out front, but Sunday, for some reason, out front is where you wanted to be. That's because everyone was even more equal than they usually are in a plate race.

And, listen, as much the Blob has taken them to task for constantly running into each other at these deals, a moment here to give credit where it's due. For most of the last 30 laps or so, they ran three-wide around the place at 200 mph, whipping up a devil's brew of turbulence. And yet the Big One never happened, at least until the last half-lap. It was one of the most jaw-dropping displays of collective driving skill you're ever going to see.

Gordon was one of the victims of all that skill, as it turned out. He was in the lead pack as the laps ground down, but there simply wasn't anywhere to go because no one was making any mistakes or leaving any holes. In the end he got turned by Ty Dillon to trigger the last-lap scrum and finished 33rd -- a parting kick in the teeth from Daytona after he'd run up front all day and led a race-high 87 laps.

Kinda like Benedict Cumberbatch losing to Eddie Redmayne.

But I digress. Again.


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