By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
The Daytona 500 is under a red flag, the second one of the day. There are 39 laps to go, in the race that was supposed to rejuvenate the sport, but currently cars aren’t on the track. The reason for the red flag is that there is a hole in the racing surface that track officials have been trying to repair. They repaired it during a one hour and 45 minute delay earlier, but the patch has been ripped apart, and the hole is bigger than it was before.
Fans are starting to lose interest, and have had several chances to begin to tune out of the race during the day with the Winter Olympics being on. However that’s not the worst part of the conundrum. The worst part is the fact that this was completely 100-percent avoidable.
The last time the Daytona International Speedway has been repaved was in 1978… that’s 32 years ago. What is their excuse? What is their reason? It’s not money, in fact it can’t be money.
In the time since the last repaving the track has done a lot of things to improve the facility including building lighting around the enormous 2.5 mile race track, something many said couldn’t be done. They have spent a lot of money since 1978, but through the years they ignored the deteriorating track surface pushing the problem off until the next season, and even using the bumps in the track as a selling point. Well it has all come around. The obvious has happened, the track has begun to fall apart… during the biggest race of the year no less.
NASCAR needs to take a good hard look at this, and it is a shame that this will potentially ruin what could have been a banner day for NASCAR as far as fan viewership is concerned. It was a great race between all of the stoppage thus far, but it is a bad day for NASCAR, unless there is an incredible finish to this race eventually… but the question is: Will anyone still be watching?