Racing is the most thrilling pursuit in the world bar none, so reading reports of meaningless F1 lap times at dull tracks is hardly a fitting way for the European season to start. Moto GP has a better idea by televising the Barcelona test and giving the fastest rider a BMW M3 as a prize, although that’s still not as exciting as a curtain-raiser should be. What we need is a pair of blue riband races sandwiching a whole month of motorsport all played out in front of hundreds of thousands of people. What we need is Speedweeks.
I always get excited about the new season once the beach at Daytona is echoing to the sound of rumbling V8s. It’s the same each year as the Rolex 24 starts the festivities of Speedweeks. This year the endurance classic was just that; a classic encounter that really sold me on the current Grand Am rulebook for the first time. Has it always been this good?
Tonight there has been more racing as the grid for the 500 was settled in the Gatorade Duels. Last week saw the Bud Shoot Out produce some of the weirdest racing I’ve ever seen – 206mph tandems that effectively made for eight-wheel race cars, the Duels were much the same. The smoother track surface may make things look a little less edgy, but the high speeds and the necessity for two cars to stay tied together conspires to create some wacky racing.
It says a lot about Nascar that they have already put rule changes into place to try to change the racing. I know things aren’t quite so simple in F1, but Nascar shames them when it comes to the ad hoc management of the regulations. Ditherers need not apply in Nascar. There could be further alterations to the cars between the Gatorade Duels and the main event with Sprint Cup series Director John Darby saying as late as Wednesday “We’ve got a long way to go until Sunday. The goal is to get everything under control so that we can put on the most exciting Daytona 500 that everybody’s ever watched. We’ll do what we have to do to get there.” Now that’s the spirit!