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Jimmie, Junior And (Almost) Danica At The Daytona 500: My Top 10 CBS Contemplations

Richie Whitt's 'Sportatorium' 105.3 The Fan | CBSDFW.COM
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Duck Dynasty meets Zac Brown (Photo: E.Stallcup, Texas Motor Speeddway)

Duck Dynasty meets Zac Brown (Photo: E.Stallcup, Texas Motor Speeddway)

10. Rubbed elbows – literally – with Zac Brown and James Franco and Willie from Duck Dynasty. It was a cool, star-studded event and then … Ray Lewis showed up and pooped all over the party.

9. Because of military budget cuts, there was no proper pre-race flyover. (The tradition remains at Texas Motor Speedway, however.) Eerily empty as we all looked skyward. What did we see instead? Fox’s robotic cam zipping along guide wires at up to 80 mph. Impressive. But not exactly the F-16 we were hoping for.

8. Went to dinner Saturday night at a historic seafood dive bar on Daytona Beach. But when we turned the wrong way off the bridge we literally almost drove to Cuba, coming to a dead end/lighthouse at the south end of the peninsula. The 53-minute detour was worth it. High Tides at Snack Jack’s on Flagler Beach has killer seafood and the waves from the Atlantic Ocean lapping at your toes.

7. I know this sounds nuts, but I coulda swore I saw former NBA center Artis Gilmore walking through the garage area Sunday morning. Then I thought, nooo way. Then I did some quick research and, sure enough, waaaay. Dude is into NASCAR big-time.

6. Found myself accidentally face-to-face with Danica Patrick outside Daytona’s media center on Friday afternoon. Seriously, if she wasn’t recognizably hot and wearing that neon green GoDaddy.com fire suit, you’d swear she was a high-school chick. She’s not more than 4-foot-9 and can’t weigh 100 pounds. And, hell yes, hot.

5.  You want crazy? Two fans crawled under a fence and actually sat on the wall in Turn 1 during live racing yesterday. Yes, they were quickly “escorted” to safety. And likely jail.

4. On Daytona Beach there is a topless bar called “Biggins.” Wondered if it was home of BBWs or, ya know, just biggie-sized breasts. Disappointingly, didn’t have time to check it out. But I’d love to hear a review.

3. Saturday’s Nationwide race featured a spectacular, horrifying climax as the car of Kyle Larson got spun and sent airborne into the finish-line catch fence. The car was sheared in half, the smoking engine and a tire penetrating the fence, pieces showering vulnerable spectators and another tired landing almost to the grandstand’s second deck. Our 105.3 The Fan crew watched the scene from about 100 yards away in Turn 4 and later witnessed two fans being loaded via backboards onto ambulances. Cars shouldn’t disintegrate like that. Tires shouldn’t go flying, transforming themselves into 150-pound spinning, flaming spheres of destruction. But props to Daytona emergency personnel for reacting quickly and efficiently. Amazing that Larson walked away from his car and that no fans were killed. One of the 28 injured was 53-year-old Eddie Huckaby from Krum, who happens to be a Texas Motor Speedway season-ticket holder. As of Sunday afternoon he was still in a Daytona hospital in stable condition.

2. Let’s face it, compared to Saturday’s Nationwide race Sunday was a relative yawn. Single-file, green-flag racin’ gets a little monotonous. But with 5-time series champ Jimmie Johnson edging fan favorite Dale Junior it made us – for a minute or two – forget about the events of 24 hours earlier.

1. No, Danica didn’t win. In fact she started the final lap 3rd and faded to 8th. But a Top 10 finish at the Daytona 500 proves she belongs with the boys. Even the big boys.

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