Like an impending dentist appointment on the calendar, I’ve been trying to forget about NASCAR’s upcoming changes to its race day format. If I don’t think about it, maybe it will go away! But no, it’s become all too real now: NASCAR has announced how they’re chopping the Daytona 500 into three “stages.”
The stage breakdown for the Daytona 500 is 60-60-80. The first and second stages for the Daytona 500 will consist of 60 laps. The final stage to determine the winner of the 59th annual “Great American Race” will be 80 laps.
I don’t think we can call it a “Great American Race” if it’s technically three heats within a race. “Sort Of Nice But Way Too Short American Third,” maybe? “Ugh, Whatever, You’re Actually Doing This Chunk Of Daytona?” What about “Life Is Pointless And Love Is Over Daytona-lette?”
The top 10 drivers, as announced, will receive points for finishing in the top 10 of each artificially-paused third of what used to be and still sort of is the Daytona 500. The Can-Am Duel races preceding Daytona will also award points this year—which, along with yesterday’s announcement of a dedicated travelling safety team for the Cup series—is one of the few welcome changes.
But the rest of it? Hope is dead. The Daytona 500, no longer a grueling, lengthy test of superspeedway endurance, lies tattered in sad pieces.
Are you happy now? Because I’m going to need someone to clean up this flipped-over desk and I’m in no mood to do so because you monsters chopped the Daytona 500 into friggin’ thirds.