Oh the irony: after all the attention paid to a NASCAR driver and his ex-girlfriend, and NASCAR’s most popular driver and his aversion of bling for his long-time girlfriend this off-season, the 2015 campaign’s genesis arrives on Valentine’s Day. For those of us who have a love for racing, Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited- a 75 lap kick-off once known as the Bud Shootout- the event will offer a welcome focus on something other than the private lives of Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Not everyone will agree, but there’s something fitting about racing under the Saturday night lights. Even though Daytona International Speedway seems far removed from the American heartland, there’s something about racing on a Saturday night that makes a fan feel right at home. The night time is the right time, they say, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any other Saturday, right?
Much like the heat racing we see at the local track, the race is broken into segments. A competition caution will send the field of 25 to pit road after 25 laps. The fans of the front-runner get that first little taste of victory. It can either serve as validation that the crew at the shop got it right with the set up, or it can be a tease, like that pretty girl who says “yes” when you ask her out, then as the enchanted evening winds down, she announces she just wants to be friends.
For those who love hard racing, the non-points event lends itself to going for broke. It’s all about winning; there’s no payoff for second. It’s kind of like proposing: love’s victory is in sight, and you pull out all the stops, and put it all on the line.
Racing on Valentine’s Day, why not? The occasion is a celebration of love, and for the fan, the Sprint Unlimited is a celebration of their passion for speed, competition, and the sensory overload of the sights, sounds and smells of the track.