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There are rules, and then there’s 36 hours of Daytona

Submitted by on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 One Comment

We have a strict 8 p.m. bedtime.

Sort of. Over the past two years it’s morphed to a strict “be physically in the bed by 8 but stay awake and read for a while if you want.”

Last night it morphed to a strict, “the heck with 8 p.m. because, after all, it’s not often the Daytona 500 ends on Tuesday morning.”

I’ve obliterated school-night rules before, most recently in January when they stayed up for the Orange Bowl. Big Guy missed the Mountaineers’ last big bowl win and I didn’t expect him to make it until the end this time. Clemson will start thumping on WVU, Big Guy will lose interest, and he’ll fall asleep close to his usual bedtime. I was wrong on all counts.

If the 500 had started as scheduled – noon Eastern, Sunday – we wouldn’t have seen the race at all, because someone in the household missed the “we’re NASCAR fans” memo and scheduled a trip.

By the time we got home, though, the race had been delayed again until noon Eastern Monday, causing Big Guy to develop a sudden sore throat and barking cough. Nice try, but, no, you can’t stay home from school.

Then the start was delayed again, to 7 Eastern. Big Guy was miraculously cured, and he’d have enough time to finish homework before the race began.

We had to leave for karate two hours later, and I thought that would be the end of it. When I peeked at my phone midway through class and saw that the race still was going on and the top four  were drivers no one but hard-core fans have heard of, I knew I needed an excuse to peek at the TV.

“I’ll drop you at basketball practice and then run home and finish the dishes. I’ll be back in a bit,” I told Big Guy, who’s still naive enough to not catch that one. Since when have I been eager to run home to finish the dishes?

Boots gaped as he saw the replay on TV. Juan Pablo Montoya, his favorite driver, had crashed into a track dryer carrying 200 gallons of jet fuel. “Was his wife watching? I bet she was scared. Were his kids worried?” Boots asked.

I went back to basketball practice and gave Big Guy the update. The race was  red-flagged with 40 laps left. The next words out of his mouth were far more predictable than the events in Daytona that had led us to this point: “Can we watch the rest of the race?” he asked, flashing me his most-winning smile.

Sure, I said.

I said “sure” because I wanted to watch the rest of the race rather than playing  Whac A Mole for an hour, trying to get them to stay in bed. And because NASCAR is what we do most weekends between February and November. And because it’s fun to do something slightly crazy once in a while, if for no other reason than to remind yourself that you can’t live like that all the time.

Besides, there are only 40 laps left. How long can that take?

Bwaaaa ha ha ha ha.

Big Guy didn’t make it to the end this time. He crashed shortly after his favorite driver did with four laps left. The first words out of his mouth when he got up this morning, half an hour later than normal, were “who won?”

Matt Kenseth did at 10 p.m. our time. That’s 1 a.m. where Mawmaw lives and, no, she wasn’t awake for finish either.

Years from now, the guys won’t recall who won the 2012 Daytona 500, though they will remember the crash because Big Guy has a knack for finding those on You Tube. But they will remember the time Mom threw out the quasi-strict rules and stayed up with them to watch a race.

On a school night.

Copyright 2012 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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