Daytona. Go ahead and think about your most cherished Daytona memory... What sticks out? For me, the shot of Johnny O'Mara hucking it 100 feet to the flats to grab second place still ranks up there. That 1987 mudder where Ricky Johnson stuck his head in Ron Lechien's spinning rear wheel is hard to forget. Keith Bowen should have won that race, but Ricky Ryan made for a more nostalgic champion. Remember when James Stewart painted a big #3 on the infield grass? Then there's Travis Pastrana's many feats of full-blown Flying Ws. Shit goes down at Daytona.
Only 15 points separate Austin Stroupe and Christophe Pourcel with five rounds to go. Stroupe should dominate this race, while C-Pour might find the track a little gnarly. You can count on this year's track to be a chewed-up mess by the time the main events roll around. A serious dark horse with these guys is Branden Jesseman. Brando has come close to tasting Daytona glory a few times, and he has the goods to get the job done. The Lites guys are normally inconsistent, but this multiplies exponentially at Daytona. The track changes every lap and mistakes are common. One thing to put in the back of your head is how fast Nico Izzi was at the end of the outdoor season in 2008. He's one of those guys that doesn't look ultra-fit, but he was charging at the end of 30+2 last summer.
SUPERCROSSChad Reed, then watch Indy. He made up his mind when the gate dropped that he was going to put the hammer down. Confidence is an awesome thing, and when he hucked the double off the start, you knew you were watching a man that wants to keep that #1 plate. Reedy has to be shadow-boxing as he takes it to arguably his strongest venue. Remember when everyone scoffed about him beating RC in 2005? The Daytona dirt is loose and choppy just like his practice tracks and I think this really helps him in the corners. Everyone knows races are won in the corners. If they have that typical 100-yard whoop section, it will be hard to stop Bubba from wheel-slapping the whole damn thing in fourth gear, but Reed knows how to chop wood in the whoops as well.
It's pretty damned cool that we have so any possibilities for the podium this weekend. The Daytona SX is a Honda event and they always put the heat on their boys to win or podium, so look for Shorty, Tedesco, Windham, and Millsaps to be taking a little extra around with them.
How about Josh Grant? Hey, JG rides the outdoor stuff REALLY well, and it's been a while since he has pulled a holeshot. He could run if he grabs one on the grass. Speaking of holeshots, #800 quietly put it on the steps last weekend and could do some damage this weekend, what with the outdoor theme.
Like I said last week, it's time to smile, folks. Everything just seems to get rolling this time a year. I took some time this morning to think about what's going on and it's hard to hold back the shivers. Daytona is going to be designed by Ricky Carmichael, who probably won't be able to make the race. You see, he'll be over at a little track called the Atlanta Motor Speedway, mashing the loud pedal in his #4 Monster Energy K.H.I. Silverado. I think he'll lead laps, folks. Things are coming together there. Who knows, maybe he'll carry a big victory-lane trophy with him on his plane and fly over to watch the boys do work on his track design. Saturday night at Daytona is going to be wild, I can just tell. Then, Sunday, I get to watch little bro try to lead the Sprint Cup Points for the first time in his career. Heavy. Let's wish everyone racing this weekend, good luck.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.