Daytona, Twitter and the Great Inferno

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's been a few days for us to digest the aftermath of the weirdest and strangest Daytona 500 in the history of NASCAR--if not the weirdest NASCAR race in general.

What started as a rain delay on Sunday led to a 24 hour postponement and another delay until 7 p.m. on Monday night.

Then, if things couldn't get wackier, a wreck on lap two knocks out five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and NASCAR's newest sensation, Danica Patrick.

Also included on that lap-two wreck was defending Daytona champion, Trevor Bayne.

Flaming inferno

OK, so moving beyond the wreck that took out three big names early on, we fast forward to the raging inferno incident.

With 40 laps to go, Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his car and slammed into a truck carrying a jet dryer, spilling and igniting 200 gallons of jet fuel on the race surface.


Brad Keselowski also made history in the 2012 Daytona 500, but not in the way one might think he would.

During the two hour red flag while crews attempted to clean up the mess from the jet dryer incident, Keselwoski sent the first tweet from his race car while it was stopped on the track.

Don't worry, though, Keselowski wasn't driving at the time.

NASCAR has since ruled he will be allowed to keep his phone in his car during future races.

In his tweet, he sent a picture with "his view" of the fiery blaze.

From the time of the delay to the end of the race, Keselowski added nearly 130,000 new Twitter followers.

Finally, the end

But eventually, racing got underway and what was supposed to originally conclude on Sunday night finished some 30 hours later in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

With all this information finally digested and processed, we finally get a chance to catch our breath.

Without a doubt, that was the weirdest Daytona race ever.

If what happened on Saturday is a precursor to future races, we're in for an interesting season to say the least.

The race, however, did conclude just as one driver predicted -- Matt Kenseth, who took the checkered flag.

On Sunday we get to glimpse into the much shorter, one-mile track at Phoenix International Speedway.

Maybe normalcy will set in and we'll see some hot racing action from some of the drivers who got knocked out early.

But that's assuming Montoya doesn't kamikaze another jet dryer.

Chris Siers is the sports editor of the Times-Gazette. Email him at