I spent my first day ever at Daytona International Speedway today. Somehow, in 17 years of employment at the Charlotte Observer, I've never been assigned to cover the Daytona 500. Generally, Tom Sorensen -- my friend and our other sports columnist -- takes this assignment but he's got other stuff to do this week. I'll be here the rest of the weekend, writing a number of columns, including one on Danica Patrick for Saturday's newspaper and one on the new style of "two-car tandem" racing at Daytona for Friday's newspaper.
One interesting thing that came out of today was a little debate about whether the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is too long. Fox Sports chairman David Hill -- whose network televises the event -- thinks so.
Hill said in January that NASCAR races should be shortened to fit into a three-hour broadcast window. On a call with reporters Thursday, Hill was asked that. (The 600 -- the longest race on the NASCAR schedule, which is one of its claims to fame -- generally lasts over four hours).
Hill stood by his comments Thursday and said he was speaking specifically about the 600, which this season is scheduled for May 29. Hill said the 600-mile race at CMS “tends to go on and on.”
Later on Thursday came this counterpunch from Marcus Smith, the president and general manager of CMS: "Shortening the 600? We were actually considering adding a halftime show!"
11 months ago