Daytona 500 Preview: Start Time and TV, Prediction, and 3 Reasons To Watch More NASCAR

I understand that I’m probably a little more of a NASCAR fan than a lot of people.

I grew up in Indiana (Home of the 500) and now live in the South.  I recently got to race at the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I’ve also attended a race…it’s hard to top one as far as sports experiences go.

But just in case you DON’T follow NASCAR, I am going to give you three reasons why you should watch today’s Daytona 500 and consider following the sport a little more closely.

2012-Daytona-500-logo-preview-start-time-tvFirst, the basic info for today’s race:

2012 Daytona 500 Info

3 Reasons To Watch Daytona (And NASCAR in general…)

1. NASCAR fans will accept you

Have you ever tried to “start following” hockey or soccer a little more closely?  You weren’t claiming to be an expert, and weren’t necessarily considering bailing on football or baseball…you were just trying something new?

If you have, then you probably experienced the snobbish arrogance of hockey/soccer fans.  I’m not sure what it is, but these are among the most annoying fans in sports.

They are constantly complaining that their sport isn’t popular enough in America…but as soon as you try and take an interest, they scream at you that you’re not a “true” fan.

If you mention that you watched a Premier League game the other day, they will sarcastically remark that real soccer fans were watching the Champions’ League.  Casually say that you enjoy watching the Minnesota Wild, they will retort with, “HOW MANY PLAYERS ON THEIR TEAM CAN YOU NAME!?!?”

NASCAR fans aren’t like that.  I honestly believe that NASCAR fans are among the most self-assured fans in all of sports.

Football fans know their sport is the most popular – but when they meet someone that DOESN’T like football, they get confused for hours and exhaustively search for a reason why you could possibly not like the sport.

Baseball fans have the inferiority complex – “Why isn’t our game as popular as it used to be?”

Basketball fans (of which I include myself) have to constantly fight racial stereotypes and radical statements made by people that don’t really understand the game.

NASCAR fans?  They just like racin’.

And if you don’t, that’s cool…they just understand that you are missing out on something awesome.

So go ahead and give NASCAR a chance.  I bet you will be greeted with open arms in the NASCAR community.

Now if only you could get past the stereotypical statements that your “civilized” friends will make…

2. The Sunday Afternoon Nap Test

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE taking a Sunday afternoon nap.  Sunday always comes after a long week of work, and no matter how much I was able to sleep in on Sunday, if I am at home watching TV in the afternoon…I will fall asleep at some point.

Well here is where NASCAR is at its best.

It’s a common occurrence for me and many of my friends to sit down, watch the first 40 laps, and drift away into a calm sleep.  After a few hours, I always wake up with about 30 laps remaining completely refreshed.  Then, I finish the race; and anyone that has ever watched the last 30 laps of a close race understands how breathtakingly exciting the finish can be.

For me, watching a NASCAR race really accomplishes a lot.  I get my weekend’s excitement out of the way, AND I feel refreshed for the week!  It’s a win-win!

3.  What ELSE Are You Going to Watch This Summer?

We have all been there…the July doldrums.

Unless you are a SUPER HARD-CORE baseball fan…Sunday afternoons in July can be consumed by reruns of the World’s Strongest Man contests or bad cable movies.

If Tiger Woods is bad…there’s literally nothing to watch.  UNLESS YOU LIKE NASCAR.

So why not give it a shot this year?  If you choose not to, that’s fine.  I, as a NASCAR fan, am self-assured enough to be ok with that.

Of course, don’t blame me in July when you are bored out of your mind.

2012 Dayton 500 Prediction

The beauty of restrictor-plate racing is that you can never be CERTAIN who will win.  Just look no further than yesterday’s Nationwide Race and champion James Buescher.

However, the other beauty of restrictor-plate racing is that you can USUALLY be certain who will have a great car.

You can always expect the Hendricks’ cars to be fantastic.

Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, and the drivers for Roush always seem to do well.

But my choice for this year is Kyle Busch.

I’m sorry NASCAR fans, I don’t particularly like him either.  But he has three things going for him headed into today’s race.

1. Gibbs Racing

Joe Gibbs has his drivers back this year and positioned for a strong performance.  As all of you know, you need a partner to race with down the stretch.  If Busch and Denny Hamlin, one of the most talented youngsters around, can team up, it will be one of the best one-two punches on the track.

2. Kyle Busch is, quite simply, the best racer alive.  

Sure, it sometimes appears that he’s out of his mind.  And yes, we all know about his, er, suspect personality.  But can anybody in NASCAR else do this?  TWICE?!?And THEN win the race?  I don’t think so.

3. He’s hungry. 

I know this isn’t really a reason that you can tangibly grasp, but I get the feeling the Busch is hungrier than ever this season.  He’s been one of the best drivers in racing for the past four years…but he and his team have never been able to close it out.

Look for Busch to be a man on a mission this year, starting with a win in the Daytona 500.


Kyle Busch (John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

About Jon Washburn

Jon Washburn grew up in Indianapolis, IN and as such, is a diehard Pacers, Colts, and Cubs fans. When it comes to college, he cheers for Notre Dame football fan and Purdue basketball. Yes, this sounds shady, but since he grew up without cable, he learned to love Notre Dame - the only team on TV. Glenn "The Big Dog" Robinson was at Purdue when Jon was in his formative years, so he latched onto them as well. Did that make him a fair-weather fan at the time? Sure. Give him a break...he was 8...and he has stayed with those teams ever since. Currently, he lives in Charleston, SC with his wife who grew up in Cleveland. Although he is no longer physically in the Midwest, his heart will always be there. Jon goes by the name "Twitch" because he has Tourette's Syndrome. Hit him up on his twitter @jwtwitch.


  1. Brian Dilsheimer says:

    Watch out for Regan Smith as a darkhorse!

  2. Larryharry59 says:

    Come on Jon. I am NASCAR and soccer fan and I never act snobbish when I meet new people interested in those sports. I only get snobbish about my beer  ;)

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