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One man's opinion

The Daytona 500 turned out to be everything any of us racing fans could ever have hoped for and a little more this past Sunday.

Those watching the race to see wrecks were got pleased, because there were plenty of them. And each time a wreck occurred, yellow caution flags waved. There were even two long delays because of a break in a portion of the asphalt track. The last one of those asphalts happened with just 39 laps remaining to be run in the 2010 Daytona 500.

More than 6 1/2 hours after the big race started, a champion was proclaimed -- Jamie McMurray -- in the Bass Pro Shops sponsored car.

Following the biggest win of his career, McMurray told Morris News Service's Don Coble, "I'm going to cry. I can't explain it. It's a dream. I just won the Daytona 500."

One of my favorite drivers, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished runner-up in the race. On the last lap he had been in 10th position passed eight other cars and nearly pulled out the victory himself. Had Junior won, then certainly it would have gone down as one of the greatest comeback victories in Daytona 500's rich history.

I went into the office to write, as I usually do every Sunday. But later, I took a break and went home to watch the last of the race on television and eat a sandwich.

Actually, I couldn't believe the race still was being played out. I thought I would get home and see some of the comments that the winner had made earlier. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise and so sat down and watched the remainder of the race.

As in the past, the race was another terrific one.

Even the long wait between finishing the last 39 laps was unique in that drivers were able to get out of their cars and take a break. Many of them drink cold beverages and snacked a little. Several of them also talked with their crew members, as well as reporters. Meanwhile, more than a dozen men took part in preparing the break in a portion of the asphalt track -- a NASCAR requirement because of safety. Even though some drivers and fans thought they should finish the race without any further delay and simply drive around the breakage, I personally disagreed.

I applaud NASCAR officials for doing the right thing. Safety should always be paramount.

McMurray raced hard and deserved to win. And I congratulate him on his victory and welcome him as the newest member of the Daytona 500 winning circle. He's a young rising star with many years of racing ahead of him.

Way to go, Jamie!

Web posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010

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