From Left Field

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By The Staff

A word from our sponsors

Sunday signaled the official start of NASCAR season with the Daytona 500. I do enjoy watching a few races during the year, but I don’t follow the sport like I used to, and that’s partly because the season is so long now. It seems like they just wrapped up last season!

I’m what you would call a casual viewer. I don’t know that much about the teams and the mechanical aspects of the sport, I just like to root for my favorite drivers. I won’t say who they are, because most race fans will pull a gun on you if you cheer for anyone other than who they are for.

Daytona International Speedway was built in 1959 and is the granddaddy of them all. It is two and a half miles of asphalt heaven that is the Mecca of stock car enthusiasts.

The last time the track was paved was in 1978. Now it’s 32 years later and the wear and tear has taken a toll on the racing surface.

During the running of the 500 Sunday, problems developed in the seams of the track which forced the track crew to patch a large pothole between turns one and two. While the first delay lasted nearly two hours, it did give a lot of the drivers and crews time to utilize what I believe is an under-rated talent - the ability to drop the names of your sponsors into any sort of conversation.

I know a lot of race teams depend on their sponsors to foot the bill for their operating expenses. I just think it’s humorous to see how effortlessly they are able to almost subliminally work these companies into interviews.

Now I’m going to mess a lot of this up and I’m just using these examples, but it’s great to hear a crew chief or driver go on and on about how the UPS Ford Fusion is handling great on the track, or how the M&M’s Toyota Camry is getting loose in the turns.

While one major sponsor is common, my favorite part is where they try to name as many sponsors as they can within one sentence. It is not beyond impossible for a sentence to sound something like, “We were really running great in the final laps, the Edward Jones/Dominos/Valvoline/Huggies Chevrolet Impala was handling well all day and the last pit stop helped us out a whole lot when we topped off with some Sunoco and put a fresh set of Goodyears on the car.”

Wow, talk about sheer poetry! That, to me, is the best part of the race.

Now, since I don’t have any official sponsors, I think I’ll just take my cue from whatever is laying around the floorboard of my vehicle, just to give myself a sense of belonging as the 2010 Sprint Cup gets under way.

If you see me driving around town, be sure to say hello to the Aquafina/Subway/Purell/Prestone/Save-A-Lot Chevy Venture as we pass by!

Vroom! Vroom!