- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 17, 2008

The key difference, Sir Scribble has discovered, in spending a week covering the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby and Daytona 500: With football and horse racing, the week drags on. It seems endless when the same people have to answer the same questions because nothing is happening.

The Patriots and Giants don’t scrimmage on Thursday. The 20 thoroughbreds in the Derby don’t break from the starting gate for a quick workout on Wednesday. Daytona is different. Stuff is happening.

The week has gone quickly, but today will be a marathon. Sir Scribble has been told to be at the track no later than 9 a.m. … for a 3:30 p.m. race. For the Derby, he usually arrives at Churchill Downs by 10 a.m. for a 6 p.m. post-time.

Other observations as the masses have flooded the area and a record crowd upward of 200,000 is expected today:

• At a stop light about three miles from the track, a man was holding a sign that read the usual, “I NEED TICKETS.” Thing was, it looked like he was holding two in his other hand. Sir Scribble rolled down the passenger door window to inquire. The man said, “I need more tickets.”

• Parking at Vince Carter Athletic Center on International Speedway Boulevard would be a reasonable price ($20), but the lot is closer to Verizon Center than it is to the speedway.

• Twice before noon yesterday, a NASCAR official got on the microphone in the media center and asked those chirping and laughing (and not working) to zip it up. Too many people with nothing to do had infiltrated the work area.

• Ron Paul still has his supporters, courtesy of a banner being flown over the speedway.

• Picks for today: 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2. Denny Hamlin. 3. Mark Martin.

Ryan O’Halloran

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