Maybe I missed something. I don’t think I did. But, yesterday’s Daytona 500 stretched my boredom threshold to the very limit.
It was good to see the Wood Bros. win the race in their #21 car and do it with Trevor Bayne, who has sealed his place in Daytona’s history as the youngest driver to win the event at just 20-years-old. But apart from that, everything from the rolling start to the chequered flag was excruciatingly dull.
The two reasons for this are: a) the race was littered with cautions; b) the whole two-car drafting did not make for exciting racing.
This new style of drafting – a result of the recent repaving of the circuit – emerged in the build-up to the Daytona 500 as drivers began to work in pairs. The improvements to the track not only smoothed out the once bumpy corners, but offered an abundance of grip – perfect conditions for two-car drafting.
So whereas typically if two cars stayed together in the corner, they’d run the risk of crashing, this year most of the field ran two-by-two for the majority of the 500 mile (200 lap) race. What compounded the issue further still was that there were only three or four two-car breakaways and you could see the rest of the pack were having trouble getting organised into two-car teams.
The most interesting and exciting part of the race came down to the last ten-or-so laps, where the drivers actually began to run for position, instead of just settling for a spot on the track where it was safe to pair up and watch the laps whittle down.
But as boring as it was watching the equivalent of a high-speed train go round in a circle for almost four hours, the whole two-car tandem did showcase something that, off the top of my head, doesn’t feature in any other sport in the world.
It obviously takes two to tango. So, during the course of the race, the drivers would communicate with other drivers on their radios to work as a tag team to push/pull and draft with one another for position.
Done for safety more than anything, it made me wonder if such a thing could possibly exist in Formula One this year with the advent of adjustable rear-wings? Could you imagine, say, a Red Bull seeking the request of a Toro Rosso, before latching on to the back of their gearbox for a few extra bhp?
It’s a shame that these tandems had such an astronomical effect on NASCAR’s blue riband event. I’m not the biggest stockcar racing fan admittedly, but I’ll certainly watch it if it’s a tossup between watching it or Dancing on Ice or whatever equivalent is on the gogglebox at the time. But yesterday’s snorefest has done nothing to whet my appetite for the remainder of the season.
Thankfully though, it is a Daytona only issue, so I’ll just have to find something else to do when the Daytona 400 comes around in July. I think I can just about manage that.