Yet again another Daytona 500 has come and gone and I found myself without a driver to root for in The Great American Race.

It’s like a Chicago Cubs fan watching the World Series — what’s the point. Oh wait, I’ve done that, too.

With the changing of the guard in NASCAR, I’ve seen most of the drivers I grew up watching that made me fall in love with the sport slowly but surely get edged out and I’ve yet to jump on any young gun’s band wagon.

It was nice to see Dale Jarrett finish a respectable 16th in his final running. Would’ve been nicer for him to get his fourth 500 win and tie Cale Yarborough’s feat.

Without a driver of my own to keep tabs on, I kept up with in-race story lines. Whose tires are going, who feels a vibration, etc. And I waited for the big one, which really wasn’t even much of a big one when it finally happened.

I had also tuned in to several hours of prerace coverage, which gave me something to hope for.

Since I first saw him on Speedweeks coverage, I’ve been preaching that Tony Stewart needs a haircut since he looks like he took styling tips from dirt driver Scott Bloomquist. During a prerace interview, Tony said he’d let someone cut his hair in victory lane if he won.

SPEED-TV analyst and my all-time favorite driver Jimmy Spencer volunteered to do the honors.

Thanks to Team Penske, that didn’t happen.

After waiting about 295 laps for some excitement, I got it. A caution bunched up the field and it became evident it could be anybody’s race for the taking.

Stewart took the white flag and I thought I heard Spencer warming up the clippers, but instead, Stewart went low on the backstretch to get help from his teammate, Kyle Busch.

The Joe Gibbs Racing drivers couldn’t line up the draft quite quick enough but the Penske cars were clicking. With a push from Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman sling-shotted to the front and won the race.

I can handle Newman winning. It was his first 500 victory and first win since September 2005.

I can’t help but wonder, however, if Kurt was really helping his teammate or just hanging Tony out to dry.

Stewart and Kurt Busch have feuded just about all of Speedweeks and received a six-race probation, but the two remained relatively out of each other's hair during the race.

Stewart finished a disappointing third and even questioned his decision to go low in his postrace interview. Without the help of his teammate, the other Busch, Stewart may have ended up even further back.

The Kurt Busch of a few years ago would’ve split Newman and Stewart with a every-man-for-himself attitude — and possibly wrecked half the field in the process. Maybe the probation was on his mind, who knows?

The only thing I know is Jimmy Spencer never forgets ... and neither do his fans.

MELINDA ROBINSON can be reached at or (606) 326-2646.


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