I could see my breath as I hoofed it from the Michael Scott Sebring of The Godfather to the infield media center here at Daytona International Speedway, where temperatures in the mid-30s hover over central Florida. I jerked my head to the right -- could have sworn I heard some wiseacre yell "Flag!" and for another brief moment thought about checking my bait and skimming the ice out of the holes.
Yeah, it's cold.
But, unlike in Maine today, at least I know the temps will rise into the low 60s. Not quite what I had in mind for my Florida jet-a-way this week, but still better than an ice storm and a slew of snow days.
I'm not sure about the Gatorade Duels, to be honest.
The signs were everywhere that it's "officially" a race day of some kind -- they were charging 20 bills to park near the track this morning, at a church of all places. Only in American, man. Only in America. The convenience stores are jammed up with NASCAR revelers in need of beer, ice and Funyuns. Yeah, it's a good day -- you know, once they scrape the ice off the window nets.
Back to the Duels, though, where you need a Ph.D. in NASCAR Bureaucracy to figure out who will start where on Sunday. I don't like the rule guaranteeing the top-35 teams in the standings a starting spot in every race; I like that rule even less here for what is supposed to be "The Great American Race," the one event on the schedule where every team has hope of getting the seaon off on the right foot.
Leave it to NASCAR to squash any feelings of hope springing eternal. Not in the racing game, folks...
And, it goes without saying, there's obviously something fundamentally wrong when even the guys racing aren't really sure what has to happen in order for them to make the Daytona 500.
The Mainers are getting better at New Smyrna's World Series.
Louie Mechalides, with assistance from Farmingdale's Johnny Clark, finished second in the 30-lap Super Late Model feature on Wednesday night -- his best finish of the week. Meanwhile, Trevor Sanborn and the Jay Cushman gang are inching there way closer to the front, landing 6th in that event.
"Last year, we had the biggest motor, the best shocks and the best tires," Cushman said on Tuesday, after the racing was officially rained out that night. "This year, we don't have the biggest motor, the best shocks or the best tires, and we're not really sure why."
The biggest news from Wednesday was when SLM points leader Tim Russell crashed in practice and went to a backup car. That car proved pretty good, too, as Russell raced to 5th to keep his overall lead over Jeff Choquette.