Saturday, July 5, 2008

Live from Daytona - Day 3

- Updated at 12:10 a.m. -

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - This place is buzzing with excitement as the fans pour in from every direction. Music is blasting, the sidewalks are packed with people and there's a massive traffic jam on U.S. 92 right next to the track.

Continuing to see more people wearing Pittsburgh gear. I yelled "Let's Go Bucs!" to some guy wearing a Pirates jersey, but he gave me a puzzled look. I asked him if he was from Pittsburgh and he said no. What would possess anyone outside of Western Pennsylvania to root for the Pirates?

Hit the beach again this afternoon and now we're walking to the swag trailers right across the street. I'm thinking about dropping 25 bones on a Dale Jr. National Guard hat. Or maybe I'll get a $3 bumper sticker, instead. My dad and I agree we're gonna hunt down Joe Nemechek and get him to acknowledge the old Steve's Auto Parts store in Lakeland. Who knows if he's even around? He's probably grilling out with his mother, Martha, before the race.

Back from Swag City and I can say I'm pretty disappointed. There wasn't a No. 78 Furniture Row trailer nor a Joe sighting. But my dad's homemade Nemechek shirt was a hit with other fans and we got our photo taken with Joe's redneck mug (see above). Couldn't find the National Guard camo hat, but I saved face by walking across the street from the track and buying a sweet Mountain Dew hat in the mall. Go figure: I went to the mall to buy NASCAR merchandise when a 2.5-mile superspeedway is 200 yards from my motel room door.

Anyway, we've ordered a pizza and anxiously awaiting a gigantic super cell thunderstorm that's about to rock Daytona around 6:30. Hopefully it'll blow over quick and they can dry the track by race time at 8 p.m.

***Here are the race winner predictions***
Mike Jones: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
My dad, Hobie: Joe Nemechek
My stepbrother, T-Bone: Denny Hamlin
Dad's frat bro, Mutley: Kyle Busch

That was probably the best racing I've ever seen at Daytona, but freaking Kyle Busch won. One guy in the row in front of us was giving him the one-finger salute during the last 10 laps... I felt the same way. What a great atmosphere for the race, though. I've got great stories to share, which I'll write about Sunday in the Daytona Race Recap section. Alright, it's time to get some sleep after a GREAT weekend.

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