NASCAR season kicks off today with the running of the Daytona 500, which is regarded as their biggest event of the season.  Unlike the NFL, which culminates with the Super Bowl or the MLB, which ends with the World Series, it’s interesting that NASCAR starts its 38-race season with their largest and most popular race.

Why?  Because Daytona Beach is where NASCAR got its start behind the brilliance of Bill France, Sr.  His grandson, Brian France, now is the CEO / Chairman of this hugely popular sport.

NASCAR took off in popularity about 10 years ago when they signed the major TV deals with Fox, NBC and Turner Sports.   Plus, they’ve done a good job by opening tracks outside of the Southeast, where the sport got its’ start.  They are now tracks in Chicago, Kansas City, Texas, California, etc.

I have a lot of friends that say they don’t watch NASCAR on TV or won’t attend a race in person.  But, I encourage you to try to attend a race in person.  It’s exhilirating — the power of the cars, the sounds, the smell of the fuel and tires — and, of course, the devoted passion of its’ fan base.

At AOL, we sponsored the #30 car with Richard Childress Racing (one of the greatest people in the sport), for three years.   Plus, we had a three-way partnership with NASCAR and Turner Sports to promote   So, I got quite a bit of NASCAR experience earlier this decade.

Who do I think will win today’s race?   My choice is Carl Edwards, who should probably battle Jimmy Johnson for the crown.  But, with major wrecks often occuring in a super speedway like Daytona, one never knows since so many cars can get knocked out.   Fortunately, the safety of the drivers has increased dramatically after the tragic accident of the sport’s most popular drive, Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Time to go watch them “tradin’ paint!”  “Rubbin’ is racin'”  🙂