The Daytona 500 finally got underway on Monday night after being rained out Sunday for the first time in the races history. Monday night saw everything people want to see in a NASCAR race with one exception...drivers trying to win the race.
Thanks to a massive fireball started by Juan Pablo Montoya crashing into a jet dryer, FOX was getting the best ratings on any show a Monday night since Game 5 of the World Series in 2010.
Those that stuck around after the fireball was cleaned up saw an anti-climactic ending that saw two teammates hold hands to the finish.
Greg Biffle was in 2nd place behind teammate Matt Kenseth and showed no, and I mean no effort to pass his teammate. Biffle is from Washington state so I try to give him the benefit of the doubt, but watching the final lap there was no effort given. He tried to say in his post race comments that he tried, but really? Dale Earnhardt Jr. was glued to his bumper and he never stepped out of line to try to see what happens. He was content just riding it out and letting someone else win. Was he worried about stepping out and Earnhardt passing him and he would finish 3rd? That happened anyway. Earnhardt showed that he wanted to move up, Biffle did not.
This whole teammate helping teammate thing is what's wrong with NASCAR. In the Olympics if there is an American in the lead in the 200 meters and another American is in 2nd, does the runner in 2nd just let the other guy win? Hell no. IT'S A RACE!!!!! What's the goal in any race? WIN!! unless it's NASCAR and your teammate is in the lead.
NASCAR forces it down our throats that the Daytona 500 is the "Super Bowl" of their sport. The single most important race of the year. They really want us to believe that. How can I buy into that if the guy running in 2nd place, only feet behind the leader on the last lap of the "super bowl" doesn't do everything he can to win the race? I understand not wrecking the guy, but you never even try to step out and try to get a run?
I like NASCAR, but I don't love NASCAR and the end of the Daytona 500 is exactly why. Everyone tried to play it off like Biffle tried to pass Harvick, but there isn't an educated person alive that watched that last lap and thought, "man, he did everything he could to try to win that race." It only gets worse as the season unfolds. You see drivers all the time riding along in 3rd place not make an effort to win the race because they are having a good points day.
The point system and team system has taken over the sport, and it's taken what makes NASCAR a sport in the first place out. YOU RACE TO WIN. Not in NASCAR, you race to get points, or help your teammates, because if you don't, if you're Biffle and you try to win the race and Earnhardt ends up passing both guys and wins, you might get fired.
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