NASCAR's Drive Up to the Daytona 500

40) I'm going to need to see some ID, dude

One name missing from our list above is 17-year-old wunderkind Joey Logano, who will make his Nationwide debut with more hype than "Cloverfield." But the racer already tabbed as the next superstar by the likes of Stewart and Martin may have to wait four years to make his Cup debut thanks to a possible new minimum age of 21. "It's not fair to the guy," said Kyle Busch, who was put in a holding pattern by a then-new minimum of 18 a few years ago. "If someone's ready, then they're ready."

41) Lost in translation

Want to see something funny? Watch a bunch of NASCAR beat writers from Charlotte and Greensboro try to decipher rookie Patrick Carpentier's French-Canadian accent. Here's a tip: He's not calling you a fink, he's saying "think."

42) Give a call to Barney Hall

When MRN Radio broadcast its first Cup race on Feb. 22, 1970, Jeff Gordon was still 18 months away from being born … and Barney Hall was on the mike. This February Gordon will be 37 years old … and Barney Hall will be on the mike.

43) Martinsville's April azaleas

Not only are they beautiful, they apparently contain some sort of crazy Miracle-Gro strain that allows them to actually thrive on carbon monoxide.

44) The ugly paint contest

Despite the crash of the die-cast market, teams still trot out new promotional paint schemes at a rate that makes it impossible to find your favorite car. Jeff Gordon alone had 11 different paint jobs in '07. While some look great, the misfires are more fun. Last year's losers -- the No. 99 Red Sox/Liquidators Ford, which looked like a slapped together ARCA ride, and the Shrek III M&M's No. 38 Ford with what resembled a neon green booger slapped across the hood.

45) A plate full of fun

Say what you want about restrictor-plate races, but they're the only four events where you can't even get up to go to the bathroom. The two Daytona finishes alone where among the top 10 closest 1-2's of all time and it looks like the COT is only going to make them better. Last fall at Talladega we had 42 lead changes among 22 different drivers.

46) Passing fancy

Passing isn't just a plate thing, it's a NASCAR thing. Every race but one featured 10 or more lead changes and 16 races had 20 or more. Said Juan Pablo Montoya: "During one bad race in NASCAR we have more passes than an entire season of Formula One."

47) More racing, fewer lawsuits

The Texas Motor Speedway suit is settled, the Kentucky Speedway has been thrown out (though it is under appeal), and AT&T reached an agreement with Sprint-Nextel to let RCR run its colors through '08. Good thing, everyone had used up their retainers.

48) Racetrack roulette

There will … I repeat … there will be a change in the '09 Cup schedule. The chances of New Hampshire's not losing one of its two race dates to Las Vegas are about as good as Jimmy Spencer's chances of winning "Make Me A Supermodel."

49) No 'roids, no strikes, no lockouts

Sure, NASCAR may have its problems, but no one is ever going to be dragged into a congressional hearing or issue his version of the Mitchell Report. And the last work stoppage we had was in 1969 … and it lasted all of one day.

50) Every game is the Big Game

I love it when everyone makes a bid deal out of the musical acts and celebrities and Air Force flyovers at the Super Bowl. We have that every weekend at Sprint Cup races. So enough with the talk already, let's drop the green so I can breathe!

Ryan McGee, a motorsports writer for ESPN The Magazine, is the author of "ESPN Ultimate NASCAR: 100 Defining Moments in Stock Car Racing History."

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