The Daytona 500 is supposed to be NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl.

It’s definitely not.

First and foremost, the obvious:  The Super Bowl determines the NFL’s champion.  The Daytona 500 is the first event of the NASCAR season and seems to include 30+ cars / drivers.

Secondly, while the Super Bowl is not always a great game, it’s typically enjoyable to watch even for people who aren’t really football fans.

I tried to watch the Daytona 500 this year.  I really REALLY tried, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

Over two hours of delays because of some pothole?  REALLY!?  THIS is NASCAR’s biggest event of the year, and they have POTHOLES?!

I heard the comments from some of the drivers and analysts, stating that they don’t want the Daytona track to be re-paved (something that hasn’t happened SINCE THE LATE 1970’s!!).  They say that part of the appeal to the track is that it’s NOT smooth.  They LIKE the bumps and grooves.  It makes for more of a challenge to fix up their cars to handle those conditions.

That’s fine, I can buy into that argument.

What I can’t handle is the fact that the track management folks KNOW that the track has problems and yet they clearly weren’t prepared to fix a pothole in a reasonable amount of time.  Almost an ENTIRE NFL football game could’ve been played during the delay.

I changed the channel, but I came back later.  When I did return, there were less than 4 laps left.  Now for those of you who saw the Daytona 500 (or even heard about it), you’re probably predicting that I’m going to complain about how there were a couple wrecks and the race was on a caution flag for a while…

No, I don’t have a problem with that.

My problem is that, as a sports fan who doesn’t typically follow much NASCAR, I’m looking at the screen, trying to figure out what’s going on, and when the announcer is trying to do his job, he’s COMPLETELY leaving out any references to the car numbers or the sponsors or the colors of the car.  He just keeps talking about the driver names, and because I don’t know more than 3 or 4 drivers, I don’t really have a clue what’s going on.  If it were as simple as “Dale Junior makes his move into second place”, I could figure that out. It’s easy to spot where first and second place are, and so I can figure out which car the announcer is talking about.  But when the announcer says that some driver I’ve never heard of is “making their move” but doesn’t reference a car number / sponsor / color / position, I end up clueless and frustrated.

If NASCAR wants a Super Bowl, it should take the final race of the year, cut the number of cars in the race by half, only taking the top cars in the points standings.  Then with 10% of the race left, only let the top 8 cars race to the finish, with the rest of the cars having to watch from the pit.  I can keep track of 8 cars, and there’d be plenty more drama in it for everybody.  The sponsors of the cars who do make it to the final 8 would get a lot more air time, the drivers have the chance to become more popular because casual fans can actually pay attention to what’s going on, and old school NASCAR fans will have to learn to like it.