Similarities exist between Daytona, Oscars
They are called the “Super Bowls” of their respective industries: the Daytona 500 and the Academy Awards.
For the second straight year, the two events happened to fall on the same day, leaving race-and-movie fans once again reeling with the kind of sensory overload that on any other day can only be achieved with a marathon triple-feature of “Talladega Nights,” “Cannonball Run” and “Days of Thunder.”
Just as the post-race interviews were wrapping up in Florida, Hollywood royalty began making its way down the red carpet. And while the two premier events may seem to be as different as they could be, upon closer look, there are many correlations between the high-speed showdown in Daytona and the lavish celebration of the silver screen.
From the shiny new paint schemes of NASCAR’s top teams to the sequined-studded designer gowns of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Sunday’s main events were filled with anticipation, adrenaline, surprises, shout-outs and standing ovations.
While Danica Patrick made history as the first woman to win the pole position and lead a lap under green in the 500, posting a gender-best top-ten finish, 9-year old Quvenzhane Wallis was celebrating her Oscar nomination as the youngest ever recognized by the Academy.
Patrick fan, James Franco, an actor who famously bombed as co-host of the 2011 Oscars, flubbed his race marshal duties by botching the “gentlemen start your engines” line; he’s now an infamous footnote of both spectacles.
Las Vegas lays odds on each, the winners of which will both likely find themselves on David Letterman.
Oscar nominees give shout-outs to their dress, shoe and jewelry designers as well as their publicists, stylists and other “team” members. NASCAR drivers thank their crews and work their sponsors into their interviews.
When it came to post-win comments, it was best picture winner, Ben Affleck who seemed to channel inspirational coaches from the world of sports. The emotional force behind “Argo” said:
“You have to work harder than you think you possibly can … and it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s gonna happen, all that matters is you gotta get up.”
While Daniel Day-Lewis celebrated a record third Oscar, Jimmy Johnson joined the short list of multiple winners of the Daytona 500.
He added to his storied five-championship career by posting a win in his 400th career start, a feat also achieved by the likes of Lee & Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
The sport of racing and the art of filmmaking may not both appeal to everyone, however, there is common ground in the “why” these two unique forms of competition and entertainment each capture millions of fans.
Racing, like the movies, gives us unique stories to follow, heroes and villains, high drama, plenty of laughs, and of course, fantastic finishes. It’s not the sparkling scene of the Academy Awards, but the high-bank home of stock car racing is a stage all its own.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at email@example.com. Her column appears on Tuesdays.