Atlanta is Where the Fun Really Starts…

Atlanta is Where the Fun Really Starts…

by February 23, 2015 0 comments

Photo credit: Wayne Thomas/The Fourth Turn

Zero down, 35 to go.

No, that wasn’t a typo nor a miscalculation.

As NASCAR bids goodbye to Daytona International Speedway after yet another memorable Speedweeks and another memorable Daytona 500, the Sprint Cup Series departs for Atlanta Motor Speedway and the QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500 – what I consider to truly be the first race of the season.

In the Daytona 500, there is no such thing as points racing or in the case of this newer era in the series, ‘racing for the Chase.’ The only thing that matters at the end of 200 laps is whether or not you’re taking home the Harley J. Earl trophy.

One day removed from the Daytona 500, now is when the real fun begins as the Sprint Cup season fully gets underway.

A new week, a new objective. No longer will competitors be focusing solely on winning perhaps the most prestigious auto race in American history, but now, a championship is on the minds of each driver that has declared to run for this year’s title.

It’s this time of year when the true title contenders begin to carve their identity out from the rest of the field and when competitors and fans alike start to see a clear picture of who the top teams will be for the rest of the season.

The Daytona 500 will always be the biggest single event of the season, there is no doubt about that. However, I have always considered it an event that completely stands on its own without any bearing on the rest of the season. Yes, yes, I know, that’s not factually correct considering yesterday’s winner, Joey Logano, has virtually locked himself up a Chase berth seven months before the Chase cutoff, but that is beside the point.

Put it this way – there’s the Daytona 500, and then there’s everything else.

While the Daytona 500 is a single race that gives out a pretty damn lucrative prize to the victor, the remaining season that is to take place across the 35 remaining events on the calendar is a race in itself that awards an arguably even more lucrative prize.

If you’re lifting a piece shiny hardware at Daytona in February, you have proven that you’re the best in a 500-mile shootout. If you’re lifting a piece of shiny hardware at the conclusion of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, you have proven that you are the best, period.

I’m pumped, the rest of the The Fourth Turn’s staff is pumped, and you should be too. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, let’s go racing.

Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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