Daytona 500: NASCAR Fans Divided on Whether Race Delivered

by Jennifer Shea

An epic 16-car wreck 14 laps into the race marred this year’s Daytona 500. And some critics contend that the wreck, plus a 10-car pileup, later on, meant that the NASCAR race wasn’t really worth it in the end.

Fans Divided on Sunday’s Daytona 500

“After another fireball finish endangered drivers and ruined millions of dollars in race cars, it’s hard not to wonder if the carnage is worth all this effort,” wrote Associated Press auto racing writer Jenna Fryer.

But at least one poll shows that fans are divided on the question of whether or not the race delivered.

NASCAR writer Jeff Gluck tweeted out a poll to his Twitter followers on Monday. “Was the Daytona 500 a good race?” he asked.

The responses were leaning about 56.6% Yes compared to 43.4% No by Monday evening. 

That’s despite an almost six-hour wait after the early 16-car wreck as rain lashed the track and track workers struggled to dry it off. And it’s despite the fact that only 11 of the 40 cars actually crossed the finish line in the end. 

Many NASCAR fans agreed that after the wreck, the remaining laps showcased a follow-the-leader style of racing that wasn’t very entertaining to watch.

“Pains me to say it, but no,” one Twitter user told Gluck. “Driving around single file for 180 laps isn’t fun.”

“Happy for mcdowell,” another user tweeted, “but 65 laps of single file at 12am was roughhhh.”

At the same time, other fans didn’t see what all the complaints were about.

“I thought it was fine,” replied one NASCAR fan.

“It was an actual race and not a crash fest,” replied another. “Pit strategy and drafting strategy, 2 wrecks that were more racing deals then anything. One of the best 500’s in a long time in my opinion.”

NASCAR Underdog Michael McDowell Pulls Out a Win

Notwithstanding the results of Gluck’s survey, the replies to his tweet tilted strongly toward No. 

But tell that to underdog Michael McDowell, who pulled out a win Sunday for the first time in 358 Cup starts. For the journeyman racer, this year’s Daytona 500 was a great race.

“There’s been lots of years where I was wondering what the heck am I doing and why am I doing it?” McDowell told ESPN. “I always knew if I just kept grinding that one day everything will line up and go right.”