The 51st running of the Daytona 500 is history.

Whoopie.

Please pardon my sarcasm, but after watching interesting and exciting racing for hours, the conclusion was anti-climatic, to say the least.

While I have nothing against winner Matt Kenseth, it was a very disappointing start to the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

I know NASCAR hated it, too. Their response is that they can't control the weather, and they're right. They were quick to call the race after dropping the red flag, waiting only 20 minutes to declare Kenseth the winner.

Now that I've got that off my chest, let me give credit where credit is due. I know NASCAR did the right thing.

I say that with confidence because as I write this from Daytona Sunday night, the rain is still falling. There was no opportunity for the race to re-start because there was no break in the rain. Yes, I know that Daytona International Speedway has lights, but no matter how much race fans would have loved to see the full 500 miles run, it just
wasn't meant to be.
Now Kenseth has a Daytona 500 trophy to add to his 2003 Cup title, the last Cup championship to be determined under the old points system. He was the runner-up in 2006 and is one of only two drivers to make the Chase for the Cup field all five years of the format's existence (Jimmie Johnson is the other.)

Not known for being an emotional driver, Kenseth appears to be one of the coolest cucumbers on the circuit. Kenseth is also perceived by some as "boring.


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" A Google search of the words "Matt Kenseth boring" brings up about 10,500 hits. But appearances can be deceiving.

Kenseth is neither cold nor boring. With his emotions clearly coming to the surface, Kenseth choked up with the magnitude of his victory. His crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer, noticed the excitement as both waited during the red flag to see if the race would be called.

"As soon as we took the lead, from nowhere, I heard a Matt Kenseth kind of scream that said, 'Rain, rain, rain, rain,'" Blickensderfer said. "It's very uncharacteristic of him, so then when the caution came out, he said, 'What's it look like? How is the radar?' I said, 'It's here. It's going to be here. It's going to rain for a couple of hours. We're going to be OK.'"

"I actually am a pretty emotional guy," Kenseth admitted. "(The media) just don't always see it."

Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon all failed to win in the 2008 season. Now that Speedweeks at Daytona are over, all three have already found victory lane in 2009.

Let's hope this is the beginning of a positive change for NASCAR racing.

Ellen Siska writes about NASCAR for The York Dispatch. She can be reached at esiska@york dispatch.com. Read her blog, "Pitting Outside the Box," at the Blogzone at yorkdispatch.com.