First thing’s first…the Daytona 500 is not “the Super Bowl of NASCAR;” it’s the “Great American Race.” I don’t know who coined the Super Bowl of NASCAR phrase, but it’s just wrong…the earliest I’ve heard of it was in Days of Thunder (first time happens at 1:47). A more appropriate comparison would be to refer to it as the “Masters of Nascar” or the “Rose Bowl of NASCAR,” but it just makes no sense to compare it to the Super Bowl. Second, the only way to describe going to The 500 is as a unique cultural experience. I don’t care what your opinions on NASCAR or racing in general are, if you’re anywhere near Daytona Beach, FL in February, you need to do yourself a favor and go to the race. The entertainment value of the race is easily matched by that of the crowd. My wife, parents, youngest brother and I made the pilgrimage down to Daytona a couple of weekends ago, and what follows is a pictorial perspective of the 2011 Daytona 500 from the Superstretch (Lund) seats (click pics to enlarge).
So, you’ve seen the race. Now it’s time to enjoy the crowd. I’ve chosen a few highlights for your viewing pleasure.