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ThatsRacin.com


Race Day | Picks, more Daytona specifics

- dpoole@charlotteobserver.com; jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009

A few more things to ponder while waiting for the Daytona 500 to get rolling:

Observations | David Poole

Abuzz and beyond our interests

People who pay attention to such things are abuzz about the fact that Keith Urban and Tom Cruise are supposed to be part of Sunday's festivities.

Urban is scheduled to do a prerace concert and Cruise has been lined up to drive a pace car before the race. Urban is married to Nicole Kidman, who was Cruise's wife. Cruise's current wife, Katie Holmes, is supposed to be there, too.

Gosh, I wonder what they'll all be wearing and who'll do their hair!

We expected a little letown, but...

Last year's Daytona 500 was a big deal. It was the 50th running of this race and a lot of cool things went on surrounding that anniversary. So in some ways this year's race was bound to be a little bit of a letdown.

But the 500 buzz is really, really flat this year. There are empty spaces for motorhomes in prime infield spots. There are fewer displays in the midway outside the track. There are fewer people at hotels and restaurants and on the streets and at the clubs.

It's just down. That's not a shock, but there is a palpable difference.

Picks

DAVID POOLE: A lot of cars could win this race, but it's hard for me to see the Hendrick and Gibbs teams not working together well enough that one of their cars doesn't win it.

Winner: Jeff Gordon.

JIM UTTER: He's won at Daytona in July before and he started this season with an impressive showing in the Shootout. All signs point toward his best season at Roush Fenway Racing.

Winner: Jamie McMurray.

BOB HENRY: I think Utter is close, but he's got the wrong Roush Ford. And I believe what Carl Edwards told Poole for his story Friday about desire. Edwards is hungry.

Winner: Carl Edwards.

Race Facts

WHAT: Daytona 500

WHERE: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.

TRACK TYPE: 2.5-mile trioval with 31 degrees of banking in the turns.

RACE DISTANCE: 500 miles (200 laps).

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday.

WEATHER: 50 percent chance of showers, 70 degrees.

TV: Fox.

RADIO: Motor Racing Network.