It wasn’t just that it rained. That would have been tolerable.
It wasn’t just that inclement weather postponed Sunday’s race to Monday. That is inconvenient for sure, but it happens.
No, what Mother Nature did Sunday was different. If felt personal.
Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad had the sun not been shining all the way through pre-race ceremonies. Or if Daytona International Speedway hadn't been filled to capacity with a crowd still abuzz from witnessing historical pace laps. Or if the President of the United States hadn’t delivered a pitch-perfect command to start engines. Or if the lights weren't out on the pace car. Or if NASCAR’s longtime fave wasn’t standing with green flag in hand anticipating his cue to let ’er fly. Or if the Thunderbirds weren’t part of an air show that included an unexpected low pass by Air Force One. Or if the entire week had not included crazy good racing – from Grant Enfinger’s win on Friday to Noah Gragson’s win on Saturday – all of which built up momentum, anticipation and excitement for Sunday's Great American Race. Or if the season wasn't anew. Or if we hadn't hankered so much for stock car racing.
If none of those things had happened, then the one miserable rain cloud that emerged out of nowhere and started a chain of other miserable clouds – all of which killed our collective high and crapped on our potentially momentous day – would not have felt so bad.
As it is, not only does it feel bad, it feels like we got catfished. That pretty picture we fell in love with – you know, the one with the sun and the birds and the planes and the crazy good racing? Maybe it was too good to be true. Sunday's development and the ill-timed manner in which it unfolded was a tease in the most brutal of ways for anyone who wants this sport to succeed. This day needed to be epic and damn if it wasn't about to be.
Oh I know, eventually the race started, but wouldn’t you rather it hadn’t? We had no sooner recovered from the first kick in the balls that all 20 green-flag laps did in hindsight was guarantee us a second. This time a Bruce Lee special.
To pile on, now we are guaranteed a full day’s worth of finger-pointing because, as you know, nothing can suck simply for the sake of sucking. Some will blame the mid-afternoon start time. Others will chastise NASCAR for not waiting it out. Let’s not forget those barrels of sunshine who feel it necessary to inform us in our time of angst that they never intended to watch the race in the first place. Absolutely lovely, those people.
We’ll grin and bear it. The truth is it’s nobody’s fault, and everyone who invested time and energy into consuming the 62nd Daytona 500 is hurting a little right now. For your real dose of irony, I guess that list even includes Brian France, who reportedly traveled with President Trump to the race because of course he did.
Can't blame him. There was no better day for a NASCAR race... until there was. Turns out that day is tomorrow.