For all of you that love speed, cars, racing, & NASCAR, I introduce to you Mario Diaz, and I welcome Mario to Shortcuts:Where Traffic and Culture Collide. Enjoy, while I try to get Mario to be more than a guest contributor! Thanks Mario!
Hi there. Mario Diaz here! The NASCAR season has now started along with other motor sports further adding to the car guy excitement. But this year they are making it extra tough on us guys by scheduling the Daytona 500 on Valentines Day, pitting the car guy in me against my man duties.
Last Saturday was the start of speed weeks at Daytona and Danika Patrick’s debut. This is her first time in a stock. After being run off the track losing a bunch of spots she came back to finishing 6th. She ran in the lower division ARCA cars, but it was refreshing to see her jump out of that car as opposed to a limber Indy car. Then later that night, the Bud shootout – the Ford Roush cars were back up front. But my hopes of them in victory lane came to an abrupt end during the final laps when the 16 car of Greg Biffle got turned into the wall. Biffle went crashing, and just like that, I went from Victory to defeat.
Thursday, I rush home to see the two final shoot-outs. These races determine who is in and who is out of the Daytona 500 race on Sunday. Cars that do not run well simply go home, ending two months of preparation for the 500. But not since the first official NASCAR race at Daytona have these races ever been so close at the finish line. In the first of the two shoot-outs Jimmy Johnson wins over Kevin Harvick by inches, and in the second, Kasey Kahne wins over Tony Stewart by a nose. Watching the final laps of these two races were just spectacular – cars going sideways out of the corners, the drivers pushing them to the limit without wrecking. For a race fan, it was almost too good to be true.
So as far as my Valentines Day is concerned, I hope my valentine can find it in her heart to excuse me, for my attention will be focused for a few hours on the running of the Daytona 500. I will most likely get “the look” and have to fix my own snacks, but hope the flowers and candy help me out. After all, it’s not my fault they decided to race on this day…
PS this weekend is also the start of NHRA Drag Racing- the winter nationals will be at Pomona, including Ashley Force Hood who was a guest on KCRW’s guest DJ project. Next week NASCAR is in town at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway. Plenty of chances to see cars moving at high rates of speed not just stop and go, like during our commutes.