"That's one small step for NASCAR, one giant leap for NASCAR-kind." OK, maybe I stole that quote from Neil Armstrong, but the suits down in Daytona Beach have been begging for a shred of positive news heading into their Super Bowl. On Tuesday, they finally got it from an unlikely source: the Nielsen ratings, which showed a slight increase from 4.4 to 4.5 for the Bud Shootout, while Daytona 500 qualifying from Sunday was up 19 percent.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- When NASCAR announced its 2010 season would be known for "Have at it, Boys," it didn't have in mind a road crew with shovels full of asphalt, filling a pothole on the race track of its biggest race. But that's how this year's Sprint Cup season began, and race officials can only hope things improve dramatically this weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Tropical Storm Fay was moving across northern Florida at a walking pace Thursday night, dropping heavy rain and threatening to stick around for at least another day in a state already struggling with flooding.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The Daytona 500 has grown dramatically since its first race in 1959, when drivers such as the legendary Junior Johnson drove into the track for the first time and simply couldn't believe its massive size.
In the beginning... it was the age before computer simulations and seven-post shaker rigs; before spoilers and terms such as aerodynamic tinkering; and before Daytona International Speedway was even a glint in Bill France Sr.'s eye. For heaven's sake, it was even the age before fire suits -- driver Fonty Flock occasionally wore Bermuda shorts behind the wheel. Conceived on the beach and raced in the sand, NASCAR marked its first dozen years with colorful, hard-charging characters and stock cars that were really and truly stock. Drivers often raced in the cars they drove to the track, and much of the money they won was plowed into getting their ride ready for the next week's event. Things don't get much more grassroots than that.
Walking along a pier in Daytona Beach with their youngest grandson on a recent Saturday afternoon, Steve and Carol Daimler stopped to see what fish the locals were catching. The fishermen wowed 10-year-old David with a big flounder they'd just landed and photos of a 500-pound, nine-foot shark they'd once caught.
This is not about baseball. Or, rather, it's about so much more than baseball. When Jackie Robinson took America by the collar 60 years ago and shook it for all it was worth, he did it on a baseball field, yes. But why he did it, how he did it, the era in which it took place -- and, of course, that he did it at all -- are infinitely more important than where it happened. Then and now, the act itself was much bigger than the stage. None of us should ever forget that.
A wildfire that threatened hundreds of homes in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, dissipated overnight and by Monday afternoon was "basically contained," said Mike Brouilette, spokesman for the city's police department.