Monday, February 09, 2004

Runup to Daytona

Pole qualifying for the NASCAR Daytona 500 was yesterday, and the pole sitter is a surprise, as was last year's pole winner. Greg Biffle is so little known that the Post-Gazette spelled his name "Biddle" in the back page headline for the story. Daytona qualifying is a little odd and drawn-out, so we don't know who will be where in the race outside the front row. We do know, however, that with only 45 qualifiers looking for 43 starting spots, nearly everyone who shows up will get a berth. last year there 51 cars entered for qualifying, the year before 53. Now racing is an expensive sport, but NASCAR can't be happy at the drop off in interest at the highest level just as the new series sponsor takes over. This also doesn't bode well for races in smaller markets this year &mdash tradionally there are a number of teams that only attempt the marquee events (Daytona, Talladega, Indianapolis) and can't afford to go to smaller venues.