I was surfing through channels last night and found that ESPN Classic is showing the 1979 Daytona 500. Cool! You'll also see my pick to win the Daytona 500 today. 7:33 PM I don't know what lap we're on, but these guys are racing hard. Great double-wide, slingshot racing. 7:33 PM So there's this rookie driving the #2 car who just roared into the lead going down the backstretch into turn 3 and ESPN makes a bad cut into a commercial. You get a gold star if you can name the rookie driving the #2 car in 1979. 7:35 PM The great thing about a 30 year tape delayed race is you don't miss anything. When we come back, the rookie is in the middle of turns 3 and 4, so we missed a few feet of racing. 7:35 PM Ken Squier just said that Earnhardt wasn't intimidated. That's right, if you said that the rookie in the #2 car was Dale Earnhardt, take your gold star. And we see another disappointment for Buddy Baker at Daytona. This was his 18th attempt at winning the race. He's not happy today, but he'll be a lot happier next year. 7:36 PM Ned Jarrett on pit road. I had no idea that's where he started. I was 10 years old when this race was run and I don't remember whether I watched it or not. I certainly didn't make note of Ned Jarrett. For those of you who were aware of things in 1979, was David Hobbs well known? I know he was a F1 driver in the late 60s/early 70s, and he's an F1 analyst for SpeedTV, but I don't think he ever won a race and I never knew why David Hobbs was an analyst on races for CBS. 7:41 PM Squier and Buddy break in, from years after that race, to talk about it. When Buddy's car stopped running, he radioed in that he thought he broke the timing chain. The crew took his word for it and didn't even bother to do further investigation. They just packed up and left. When they got back to the shop, they tested the ignition and found that the backup worked just fine. 7:42 PM Big wreck coming off turn 4. Ken Squier just talked about $50,000 cars being wrecked. I'm sure that dollar amount then was just as crazy as the amount they spend on a single car now. 7:47 PM Another rookie leading at lap 78, Geoff Bodine. Ned Jarrett's interviewing another rookie in Cup racing, Harry Gant, who was a 39 year old rookie in 1979. In 2009, a 39 year old race car driver would be washed-up, but he was a rookie in 1979. That's 3 rookies in this race who had a big influence on racing in the 80s. 7:54 PM BTW, the engines in these cars sound so cool. 8:02 PM 5th caution as an engine blows. Halfway through the race and there are 19 cars on the lead lap. That's certainly not unusual now, but it's likely very unusual for 1979. 8:06 PM Oh for crying out loud. I've been watching this race for 33 minutes and that's the 4th time they've played the Nascar commercial featuring Gun n Roses' Welcome to the Jungle. Enough already! 8:07 PM BTW, if you've seen some of the other Nascar threads on the BB right now, you've seen the thread about the Nascar.com poll where fans picked the '98 Daytona 500 as the greatest race ever. One of the questions I had about this '79 500 was whether it was good from start to finish, or did it just have a great finish. Now, I can answer that question. This has been a great race. 8:13 PM Donnie Allison's leading and the left side of the car is a little beat up. Squier makes a comment about the aerodynamics of the car being a mess and I have to laugh. The cars are little more than rolling shoe boxes in 1979. 8:17 PM Again, seeing this now highlights how different the racing was in 1979. Both Squier and Hobbs are marveling at these cars running so close together, and Hobbs even said that he's never seen racing like this, but it just looks like a typical Daytona race to me. 8:24 PM More differences between then and now on pit road. Earnhardt comes barreling in at full speed and the crew is already out waiting for him. 8:33 PM All the leaders are making their final stop. Yarborough comes in and AJ Foyt is now the leader. 8:36 PM It didn't take long for me to hate the Welcome to the Jungle Nascar commercial. Just run it into the ground, guys. 8:39 PM After the pit stops have sorted themselves out, Donnie Allison is leading Cale Yarborough with 22 laps to go and they've pulled away from the rest of the field. 8:41 PM Squier says that Nascar is testing the photo finish camera that they think they'll need. 8:41 PM They show AJ foyt and Richard running together in 4th and 5th and Squier says that they're catching the leaders and we could have a 5 car shootout for the win. Hobbs takes the opportunity to point out that Foyt and Petty are 9 seconds behind the leaders. So, uh, not so much there on the shootout, Ken. Foyt and Petty catch and pass Waltrip. 8:51 PM 5 to go and Cale's stayed glued to Donnie's bumper for the last 16 laps. 8:54 PM White flag. No need for me to describe it. Amazing finish. After Donnie and Cale wrecked, it's obvious the CBS crew wasn't prepared for something crazy like that because they had no idea where Petty, Waltrip and Foyt were. Several seconds went by as Squier kept saying they were on the backstretch, but the camera didn't pick them up until they were in turn 4. I'd say they were in full panic mode there. The entire crew rides on Richard's car to Victory Lane. And there's a fight! BTW, some interesting parallels working here. In 1978, Richard Petty went winless and won the 1979 Daytona 500. In 1997, Dale Earnhardt went winless and won the 1998 Daytona 500. In 2008, Jeff Gordon went winless. Will he win the 2009 Daytona 500? I say yes. Jeff Gordon is my pick to win the Daytona 500.