February 5 is a special day. It's three weeks from the first race in the Monster Energy Cup Series, the Daytona 500. It is our Super Bowl. In it we will have new drivers, new teams, and a new Series sponsor. We will have a new race format, new points and a new (name only so they say) Playoff that will be used to crown our 2017 Champion.
We will even have a new checkered flag.
February 5 is a special day because that is also Super Bowl Sunday. This is the conclusion of the NFL's playoff that crowns their 2017 Champion. It's a day of good football (hopefully), good parties and most importantly-good commercials.
Super Bowl commercials have become so popular many watch the game to see the commercials. Replays and post-game analysis will be as common for them as for the game. Over the years there have been are a lot of them-some bad, some good, some that grab you and won't let go.
Some are forgotten before the end of the game. Others stand the test of time. I couldn't help think of this classic when Brad Keselowski asked during the January 23rd Competition Enhancements Announcement, "Have you ever seen cat-herding before?" My personal Super Bowl favorite will show you just what it looks like.
Over the years, NASCAR, sponsors, media and tracks have had their share of great commercials. Although it's sad that the number of commercials in a race broadcast seems to be on a steep rise, the racing commercials seem to be fewer. It's sadder still that fewer still have the "stick" that so many of the older commercials had.
For example, a race day Sunday morning was never complete until TNN played this one. Change the driver's name and make of car and it would still rev fans up.
Speaking of Rusty Wallace, I always enjoyed his Zerex commercials with Alan Kulwicki. Neither seemed that comfortable in front of the cameras, but that added to the specialness of their commercials. You know they had to have a lot of fun with Conchita though. I'm sure the outtakes are priceless. Miss you, Alan.
Dad's favorite was one with Ken Schrader and Neil Bonnett. Kenny's high pitched "Neil... Neil" cracked him up every time. I couldn't find that one but did come across this one with Neil and Steve Evans. I had to include it. If Neil had made it back to the booth, I do believe today's race coverage would be so much better.
NASCAR's "How Bad Have You Got It" series celebrated our fandom by cleverly poking fun at us. We probably all "resembled that remark" from their series at one time or another. As a fan, I had (note - past tense) it bad... but never this bad. (Well there was that time at Talladega... but we'll not talk about that).
As the sport erupted and the fan base grew, kids and our female fans got into the action. Who could forget Loran Wallace? Rumor has it he is now driving Modifieds in Parts Unknown, Missouri. And I'm sure if Kasey Kahne hadn't gotten that protective order these ladies would still be seeking him. Pay special attention to how well Kasey delivers his lines. It's an award winning performance.
And who can forget Jeremy Mayfield's "Oh yeah" to the affirmative answer to his question "Is that Octane 93 you're wearing?"
My second favorite comes from Chevy with these three amigos. I think the one behind the wheel first was the least natural of the bunch. This commercial always brings a big smile (and a little tug at the heart).
I hope one of these mentioned is on your list of favorites. There have been so many good ones (and not so good ones) through the years. If not, I hope it jogs a memory or a commercial that you'd care to share here.
I'll close with my all-time favorite - "Magic". It was one of the early ones by then new series sponsor, Nextel. In it Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray debate - Is it "magic" or "sleight of hand?”
On Sunday, February 26th, the green flag will drop on the Daytona 500, our Super Bowl. There will be good racing (I hope), good parties and (fingers-crossed) some good commercials. More importantly, this will be the start of the 36-race journey that will reveal whether this season's new race format will be "magic"... or "sleight of hand."
For the fans and for the sport, I pray it's "magic.”
Beep-Beep... Now get me a bunny.
(Last link compliments of your editor… Smile, it looks so good on you!)