|Daytona is a "Major," but longer NASCAR's Super Bowl|
"It's the 500, the biggest race of the year, the biggest event," 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski said recently. "It's our Super Bowl, and it's our first race out of the gate and the Super Bowl is always the most exciting."
Sorry Brad. Not anymore. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t set up a NFL style elimination playoff like the one NASCAR has put in place and still call the first race of the year the Super Bowl. Just won’t work. The Daytona 500 has become just another one of 26 play-in games.
The new Chase format was been compared to the NFL playoffs, but it’s much closer to the FedEx Cup in the golf. Now I like golf, watch the majors and some other tournaments on Sunday when the competition is close, but the FedEx process remains vague to me. Suffice to say that near the end of the season, a certain number of golfers are knocked our each week until the Cup winner is decided in the final tournament of the year. In golf, however, the Cup is secondary. The “Majors” are what count, The Masters, British Open, US Open and PGA Championship.
NASCAR’s Super Bowl now takes place in Homestead, Florida, in the last race of the year. But like golf, maybe NASCAR also has four “majors.” The Daytona 500 would be one. The World 600 is another. Then comes the Brickyard and the Bristol night race. A fifth major (golf announcers like to say the Player’s Championship is a fifth major)? Could be Darlington, the fall Talladega race, one of the Martinsville events, Richmond fall race, or a couple of others.
500 Prediction: Joe Gibbs Racing has won just about everything so far in Speed Week and I don’t expect that to change. Matt Kenseth would seem to be the favorite, but he's hit everything except the pace car this week. I like Denny Hamlin. It's beginning to look like his year. Surprising that Kyle Busch is the third pick on a three-car team. If one of those three win, it will be Toyota's first Daytona 500 victory