5 takeaways from the 2017 Daytona 500

Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

The Daytona 500 had just five undamaged cars and only 15 on the lead lap at the end and despite the carnage, a lot of good things happened as well.

The 59th running of the Daytona 500 turned out to be a mixed bag of the good, bad and ugly. An old-time company showed it still has what it takes to compete at the highest level to a first time winner after being a bridesmaid three times.

Then there was the swan song for a two-time winner of the Great American Race, the emergence of a four-car team with a new manufacturer and the story of the day: how many flags does it take to complete a race? Here are 5 things you need to know from Sunday.

5) Wreckers or Wreckers?

When NASCAR decided to change the way races are run by adding stages that effectively overhauled the points system, they expected to regain their footing with fans. However, after a weekend of cars piled up as if a new junkyard had just opened in the City of Daytona Beach, who knows what the initial reaction will be after watching the Daytona 500?

With ratings down, maybe it was a good sign that the Great American Race was sold out at the track. More than 100,000 people packed into the World Center of Racing, only they saw more flags than outside of the United National Building in New York. It wasn’t pretty, and it might have left those in the stands and watching at home wanting for more.

Sure, there were still 200 laps to determine a winner, but where was the action? With the slow pace created by stage breaks and double-digit yellows and reds, it would not be a shock if TV sets were turned off because the parties just ran out of food and beer.

NASCAR is committed to this for the entire season whether or not their new sponsor, Monster Energy, had any say in it. They sold this to the owners and drivers as being the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread, and they did it brilliantly because nary a person said anything negative about it leading up to the season opener.

You have to wonder what they must be thinking about now.