“Newman and I were friends. We were great teammates, and he needs to check his trophy case on that Daytona 500 trophy I helped him get years ago.”
— Kurt Busch
“But seriously, I think overall in the scheme of things winning an Emmy is not important. Let's get our priorities straight. I think we all know what's really important in life – winning an Oscar.”
— Ellen DeGeneres
One wonders just how many people out there will crack open a cold one, sit through Sunday’s Daytona 500 and have enough composure to cheer on their favorite for best foreign film later during the Oscars.
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m game for both sports.
I affectionately refer to the Oscars – Academy Awards for those politically correct – as a sport due to the enormous pomp and circumstance surrounding the star-studded event each year.
I mean, how many NASCAR drivers could sport 6-inch heels on the red carpet? Possibly Danica Patrick, who has the pole for the Daytona 500. It appears the 30-year-old raven-hared scarlet should take a shot at acting since everything she touches seems to turn to gold these days. Why not? Who would argue she’s got the looks for the silver screen?
She’s already made some bucks through modeling. But does it give her an advantage in her sport of choice?
According to NPR, Patrick weighs far less than her competitors, in a sport that separates winners and losers by fractions of a second. Her website lists her at 100 pounds — 50 pounds lighter than Jeff Gordon, who will start in the second slot Sunday.
NASCAR accounts for variations in drivers' weight by adding what are essentially blocks of lead to Sprint Cup cars, which are required to weigh at least 3,300 pounds. For every 10 pounds under 180 pounds, an additional 10 pounds of weight is added to the car.
But NASCAR's rules only cover weights down to 140 pounds – a limit that surely must have seemed safer in the sport's more country-fried past.
"As a consequence, the combined weight of Patrick and her No. 10 Chevrolet SS represents a 40-pound advantage over almost every other driver/car combination in the field," writes Reid Spencer at NASCAR.com.
The last time a pole-winner won the Daytona 500 was 13 years ago when Dale Jarrett pulled off the feat. Does anyone know what film won best picture back in 2000?
A quick Google search reveals it was Gladiator. Russell Crowe fighting for his life in the Roman Coliseum, Danica Patrick looking to rewrite history at the famed Daytona track – notice any similarities there?
OK maybe not. But I’ll be pulling for Patrick on Sunday. And that may be my only favorite of the day since I just realized I haven’t seen one of the films nominated for best picture this year. I’m sure they’re all fine films, but free time hasn’t been much the luxury for me recently.
At least last year I had seen most of the films on the list and was really pulling for Moneyball until the proverbial red carpet was pulled underneath me and that black-and-white silent film, The Artist, won. Really? There had to be at least a half dozen movies on that list that had to be better than The Artist
But I didn’t see that one either.
So thanks for reading possibly the most uninformed column on both racing and movies. Hey, at least Seth MacFarlane is host for the Oscars this year. He’s got to be better than Darrell Waltrip.
Sadly, I cannot find one real similarity between the Oscars and the Daytona 500 except they will be on my television Sunday. Oh, and what a travesty Talladega Nights got snubbed for a little gold man back in 2006.
I admit that was a stretch. Maybe a Days of Thunder reference?