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2015 Daytona 500: Why Being 1st Works Best for NASCAR’s Biggest Race

One of the aspects of NASCAR that confuses and dismays fans familiar with other sports is the fact that stock car racing’s train seems led by its caboose. Other sports logically end their seasons with the biggest event, one with an exalted name like the Super Bowl or the World Series. NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series opens on Sunday with its biggest event, the Daytona 500. What the hell is that all about? Comparing baseball, with its bats, balls, gloves and 162 regular-season games to NASCAR, which involves 43 cars, drivers and teams going around and around every week, competing collectively instead of one-on-one, is impossible, despite the ungodly impulse of humans to try. The Daytona 500 became NASCAR’s flagship precisely bec...

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