Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s strength

Ever since I was a two-year old running around yelling, “I’m Mark Mark (Mark Martin, newest NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and my favorite driver until he retired), and I’m going to win the race,” I have loved NASCAR.

I have collected so many of the Hot Wheels cars, played the videogames, watched many races on TV, collected driver cards and various nick nacks from many of my favorite drivers, and so much more.

I also understand that after writing those first two sentences, more than half of you stopped reading. I have long ago accepted that many people will dismiss NASCAR or any other form of racing as “boring because they go around and around in a circle,” not a sport (which is a complete lie or an extremely uniformed statement), and just about everything else they can think of to try and discredit it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people react negatively or are in complete disbelief when I mention something about the sport that I love. It used to affect me, but now I realize that everyone is going to have their own (wrong) opinion on why NASCAR isn’t that great, and that’s fine.

Anyways, back to what I wanted to talk about. Today was Daytona Day! Feb. 26, 2017 was the 59th running of the Daytona 500, otherwise known as “NASCAR’s Super Bowl” and countless other iconic nicknames for the wondrous event. Every year, NASCAR’s best descend upon Daytona Beach, Florida to tackle the 2.5-mile track with turns banked at 31 degrees.

All 40 cars will race side-by-side, three-wide and sometimes even four-wide at 180-200 miles per hour. There are preposterously close finishes, such as last year’s race where Denny Hamlin literally beat Martin Truex Jr. by a foot at the start finish line, or other crazy moments where cars can use the draft to come from eighth to first in the matter of a lap.

With all 40 cars racing that close to each other, there are also plenty of giant crashes that pique even the most casual fan’s interest as they see cars barrel roll almost yearly. Through so many safety changes and innovations, drivers have never been safer, but there always is a sense of danger with both driver and fan which gives the sport even more of an appeal.

Although there are far too many 1.5 mile ovals where passing is hard to come by and many fans will claim is boring, the superspeedways, road courses and short tracks are what make NASCAR so popular. Daytona is one of those superspeedways where there could be nearly 70 lead changes in a 200 lap race.

Although I missed most of the 59th running of the race due to work, I was still just as excited to find out what was going on via Twitter. There is no doubt that I will also be reading as many stories about the race as I possibly can, along with attempting to find some (most likely illegal) link to watch the parts of the race that I missed.

Some may call me crazy for loving a sport such as this, but I can literally tell them that friendships, memories and so much more were made from this so-called ‘boring’ sport. I will always have a place in my heart for NASCAR, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Buffalo Wild Wings misses its chance

There were nearly 100 million eyes on Super Bowl LI on Feb. 4, 2017 when the New England Patriots won the first-ever overtime championship game in NFL history 34-28 vs. the Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots came back from being down 21-0 to the Falcons and 21-3 at the halftime.

Following many highlight-reel plays from both sides, the Falcons still held a 28-20 lead with five minutes left in the game before the Patriots were able to drive down the field and tie the game up and win it in overtime. Besides so many people losing their collective minds over what had just happened, many including myself were left to wonder, where was Buffalo Wild Wings?

For those not in the know, for any NCAA Division-I men’s basketball game during the NCAA tournament, Buffalo Wild Wings has a commercial campaign promoting the restaurant and how its a great place to watch the big game. Fans of college basketball have become used to it, it is usually trending on various social media sites under tags like #pressthebutton and #bdubsovertime.

To be fair to the restaurant, no Super Bowl game had ever gone into overtime in NFL history. Buffalo Wild Wings had no reason to even book a commercial slot in the most expensive TV advertising spots of the year. I guess that the restaurant will have to develop a better plan for if a situation like this would ever happen again.

Buffalo Wild Wings is certainly not the first company to either market its food or beverages to the sports fan, and it most certainly will not be the best. For it to remain in people’s heads in overtime situations though, it will have to be more proactive next time or risk further damaging its brand awareness.

P.S. Although I didn’t want the Patriots to win, the fourth quarter and ensuing overtime were one of the greatest comebacks in sports history regardless of the absence of Buffalo Wild Wings commercial. As much as it pains me to say it, congrats to the New England Patriots.