[Masthead] Fair ~ 55°F  
High: 80°F ~ Low: 55°F
Sunday, May 3, 2015

Daytona signals start of NASCAR season

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Boogity, Boogity, Boogity! Let's go racin' boys!"

The most famous words in NASCAR are about to be bellowed out once more, signaling the start of a new season.

The new season officially kicks off on Sunday with the running of the sport's most recognized race on the sport's most recognized track -- the Daytona 500.

For years as a kid I was perplexed as to why anyone in their right mind would sit and watch a bunch of cars race for hours and hours, only making left turns (with the exception of road courses).

But my parents' interest in the sport kept me moderately interested, although it usually just gave them an excuse to nap after church service on Sunday mornings.

However, I digress.

I just couldn't compare these guys on the same level of a professional athlete as that of Michael Jordan, or a Troy Aikman.

New view

As I got older, however, I began to understand just how demanding of a sport NASCAR racing really is.

And with the iconic Daytona 500 amping up, viewership and interest is sure to skyrocket on Sunday afternoon.

After all, last season yielded more drama and more fiery exchanges between drivers than in most years.

At the center of it all were the Busch Brothers -- Kyle and Kurt.

After one such exchange, Kyle was sentenced to anger management therapy to help control his temper.

Drama

Even last year's 500 brought about drama, with Knoxville native Trevor Bayne shocking the motorsport world by winning the Daytona 500 on his 21st birthday.

Bayne again qualified for the race and is definitely on the radar of most of the veterans.

Another headline for this year is Danica Patrick, who has made the jump from her successes in Indycar racing to the world of NASCAR.

While new to the Sprint Cup series, Patrick has spent the last past few years racing at the Nationwide level.

One major question is, "Will Patrick's successes in Indycar translate to successes in NASCAR?"

Good question.

Historic race

But with all the new headlines and drivers thrown into the mix of our beloved motorsport, it's difficult to ignore the history of the race.

And no race stands out more in recent history than the one of 2001, the race which claimed the life of Dale Earnhardt.

His crash into turn three still stands imprinted into the drivers and NASCAR officials, alike.

But perhaps of all the devastation that came with his death, one good thing came out of the event, and that was newer safety precautions.

Ready?

It never fails. There will be wrecks; there will be driver vs. driver fights and brawls this year; and there will be upsets and there will be expected wins.

That's what makes the sport so great.

I know I personally have much more interest in the sport now than an excuse to nap on Sunday afternoons. The sport's heritage runs deep, but each near year brings about a new chapter in the legacy.

A new chapter opens on Sunday with Carl Edwards on the pole.

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity! Let's go racin' boys.

-- Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette. He can be reached at sports@t-g.com.

Chris Siers
The Extra Point
Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.