About the only calamities that this race didn’t have was a plague of locusts and Lake Lloyd turning to blood. Monday’s race may not have been the best Daytona 500 ever run, but it will be one we’ll never forget.

The good news is all involved made the best of a multitude of bad situations. Rain may have delayed the race, but it didn’t shorten it. A jet dryer fire may have prolonged the race, but the repair crews did a yeoman’s job of fixing the track, and thank God that didn’t determine the outcome. They got the race in, and the fans who gamely waited it out, saw a pretty decent finish with Matt Kenseth leading Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle to the checkered flag.

One thing we’ve learned from this weekend is never say “never” when it comes to racing. This sport we call auto racing will test competitors, strategists, and officials in ways no other sport will. This race could have been an all out disaster, but it wasn’t.

For those that complain that Danica, Jimmie, and Kyle get too much camera time, your wish comes true. How cool is it that Dave Blaney, David Gilliland and Landon Cassill get 15 minutes of fame during the red flag? How cool is it that the race winner is an accomplished, yet quiet former champion that has a certain “average Joe” aura about him?

Oh, and by and large, that tandem racing nonsense is over. From this fan’s perspective superspeedway racing with restrictor plates will never offer us perfect racing, but props go to everyone who worked so hard to make it better.

Thoughts go back to the last time Kenseth won the Great American Race back in 2009. He won a rain-shortened affair that left a bitter taste in the mouth of many, leading to an utterly forgettable, rain affected race at Auto Club. Daytona sets the tone for the season, for better or worse. Considering the alternatives, we’ll take it.

It’s just good to have it over with and move on to Phoenix, where we’ll have a much more accurate gauge on the contenders and pretenders for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Is the Daytona really over? Quick, let’s get out of here before a sink hole forms in the infield and sucks everyone down.

Other articles by Jim McCoy include:

The Greatest of the Great American Race
It’s Stand & Deliver Time For Joey Logano
Mark Martin: Racing Less, Enjoying It More