The 2012 Daytona 500 is now history in so many ways! The first time in 54 years, the Daytona 500 was run on Monday night, and my guess – before seeing any ratings – is the viewership rivals and perhaps exceeds that of Monday Night Football, maybe even the Super Bowl.
This event survived, rain and fire getting started and to end all 500 miles of The Great American Race. A race so bizarre, those watching will be talking about this one for many years to come. The biggest wreck of the night involved Juan Pablo Montoya and a jet dryer burning 200 gallons of jet fuel on the track – yes, in case you didn’t see the coverage last night – you read that correctly.
|The two men on the track include the driver of
the truck pulling the Jet Dryer erupting in flames
photo credit – Getty Images
During a caution and after a pit stop, Juan Pablo Montoya was on the track alone, but for the jet dryers on the far side of the oval in turn 3 when “something broke” on his car, causing him to spin directly into the jet dryer traveling high on the banking. The collision sent Montoya’s car careening off track and subsequently on fire with the front of his car totally destroyed. Moments later, the Jet Dryer spilling massive amounts of fuel sliding across the track, produced a gigantic fire ball as fumes erupted in flames.
Fortunately, no one was hurt but Duane Barnes, the driver of the truck pulling the jet dryer was sent to Halifax Medical Center for further evaluation with no apparent serious injuries.
As fans continue to soak in subsequent stories and coverage of the 54th running of the Daytona 500, there will be even more bizarre nuggets of this season-opening extravaganza.
For instance, who knew this would happen? Brad Keselowski tweeting moments after the Red Flag was flown to stop the drivers on-track following the jet drier incident, tweeted a photo of the cars stopped directly in front of him. It generated so much response on twitter, @keselowski increased his followers by more that 100,000 throughout the the Red Flag duration. When this fan last checked, he had over 200,000 followers and still rising.
During the Red Flag, the number of followers on Keselowski’s account was increasing by several thousands within minutes. In fact, when drivers were told they could get out of their cars – as they began to gather – it became apparent, Keselowski’s cell phone became the focus of many including twitterless Dale Earnhardt Jr.
And as fans were happy that Fox had announced side-by-side screen coverage during commercials for the final hour of the race, what they saw during those commercial breaks were drivers standing on the track talking with one another.
A couple paraphrased quips from fans during this extended Red Flag time frame include, the drivers should all start running around the track to see who could cross the finish line first to expedite the conclusion of the race – reminiscent of Carl Edwards doing so after a final lap wreck a few years ago. And another suggested the drivers all pick up a broom and help the track workers with the cleanup on-track so the race could get underway more quickly.
These stories merely touch the surface of Daytona 500 highlights for the evening. And as we record the history of this famed event, will most likely provide interesting reading for the ages as fans recall this Monday night of racing the 54th running of The Great American Race.
Oh, and by the way, at the end of a long night – Roush Fenway Racing celebrating “25 years of winning,” came home with their 300th win with Matt Kenseth concluding the race as the first to cross the finish line and bringing home a victory for new sponsor Best Buy.