DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. - Daytona International Speedway attracts a less conventional crowd than any other track. The crowd is younger, fans wear shirts that don’t bear a picture of a car and men are more likely to dye their hair blond.
A trip through the infield is telling. I walked past 250 motor homes and trailers but didn’t trust my math and walked back in the other direction and counted again. It came out to 255.
I also counted on those vehicles more than 600 flags or banners. Dale Earnhardt Jr. had by far the most, more than triple anybody else, and Dale Earnhardt, who died at this track five years ago, was second. The third most popular banner was, Feed Your Hungry Driver Ragu. Somebody went door to door in the infield Wednesday and handed out the yellow flags.
Another flag said Iowa, one said England, one said New England Patriots and a sign said St. Cloud, Minn. I got my first newspaper job there.
On a motor home with an LSU flag and an It’s All Good banner came Cajun music, soft and beautiful. About 100 yards away an older fellow stood by himself listening to Detroit R & B.
You know what was absent?
Confederate flags. How many do you think there were? Again, there were at least 600 flags or banners. Pick a number.
I saw four. Not 400, but four, and two were on one trailer. The times they are a changing, at least in Daytona.