Last night (this morning), I finally went to bed three hours after my usual time. I was only able to sleep an extra half hour this morning. The reason? I was watching the Daytona 500. The theme song for this years race should have been I've Seen Fire and I've seen Rain.
For the first time in the 54-year history of NASCAR at Daytona, the 500 did not run on the scheduled day. Rain prevented the 1 PM start on Sunday. Shortly after 5 PM, officials announced the race was postponed until noon on Monday. As noon Monday approached, it was raining at Daytona Beach and the weather prognosticators were calling for an 80% chance of showers that afternoon. Officials announced 7 PM as the new start time. This time it worked.
It had been an exciting race when with about 40 laps (of 200) left to go, there was a caution on the track. JP Montoya had a vibration in his car and he went to the pits to have it checked. Crew members said it was okay. Montoya went back on the track and was driving fast to catch up with the back of the pack. (This is commonly done and happens regularly in situations like this.) As Montoya was approaching a jet dryer, something on his car broke. We could see sparks from beneath his car just before he began a long skid that took him violently into the rear of the truck and dryer that was cleaning the track. The 200 gallons of jet fuel began to spill and a spark ignited it, which resulted in a spectacular fire ball.
Almost unnoticed in the film (available on NASCAR.com), a safety worker rushes to the stricken truck and helps the driver from the track. The truck and driver were from Michigan International Speedway. They were there to help with the "big" event. The driver was transported to an area hospital, where he was treated and later released.
Montoya rode his badly battered vehicle into the infield where it came to rest. He was able to climb out unassisted and limp away.
It took two hours to extinguish the fire, clean up the mess and resume racing. I found it interesting that the final clean up step before drying, was to apply Tide detergent and water to the fuel-soaked race surface. It did the trick.
Unfortunately, my favorite driver, Brad Keselowski, got wrecked in another late race incident. It looked like he was going to finish in the top ten. Oh well . . . I'm ready for a nap. Where's Midnight. I need him. A warm kitty on the lap is a great sleep inducer. I probably don't need it, but it makes me feel good.
During the two-hour delay, Brad Keselowski pulled out his smart phone and began tweeting. Soon, he had a group of drivers gather around him looking at the screen and kibitzing with him. Race reporters in the broadcast booth, noticed what was happening and talked about Brad's tweets from the track. When I checked into his twitter account before the incident, he about 130,000 followers. This morning he has 205,000 followers.
Before you ask, my answer is "No." I don't think he was tweeting or texting at 200 mph during green-flag racing. How can you do that when these guys drive that speed with spacing that is about what you and are comfortable with when parking our cars?