So, how's your pulse rate this morning? I, for one, still have goosebumps following yesterday's finish to the Daytona 500 - won by Denny Hamlin just .010 second ahead of Martin Truex Jr.

It was the closest finish in that storied race's history. Take a moment to think about that: the closest finish in Daytona 500 history.


As a 35-year-old race fan, I don't have the same background that some of our awesome race fans from New Hampshire Motor Speedway can brag about. I wasn't alive for the 1976 Daytona 500 when Richard Petty and David Pearson battled in one of the most stunning finishes in NASCAR history. I was only 7 years old when Dale Earnhardt Sr. held on to win The Winston all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a finish dubbed "The Pass In The Grass." And I was in the middle of my college undergrad when Kevin Harvick held on to beat Jeff Gordon in 2001 by .006 second at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

It wasn't until I got my first job that I truly fell in love with racing. I got my first job out of college writing for a newspaper. One of my first assignments was to cover the races at then New Hampshire International Speedway. Oblivious to the sport, other than what I saw on TV, I was completely shocked when I drove through the gates for the first time.

The sights. The sounds. The smells. It was sensory overload.

I've been to Fenway Park, the Boston Garden (both old and new), and Gillette Stadium. They are all amazing in their own ways, but nothing compares to NASCAR race week at the Magic Mile. There's an unexplainable energy that overcomes you as you walk through the garage or pull your wagon through the Fan Zone or sit in the stands and feel the thunder of the engines. There's a positive vibe and a sensation that is indescribable.

I couldn't help but get that feeling sitting on my couch, watching Denny Hamlin go door-to-door with Martin Truex Jr. to win Sunday's Daytona 500. It made me feel pumped about this upcoming season. It made me incredibly energized about our races in July and September.

There's a new energy not only in NASCAR, but here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Spearheaded by our new general manager, David McGrath, we are ready to build off of what happened in Daytona on Sunday. We are ready to make the fan experience here one of the best in the business, something every single one of the people in our company takes very seriously.

As someone who didn't become a true race fan until the mid-2000's, I respect our fans and their passion for a sport that's close to celebrating its 70th anniversary. And whether you're a fan or foe of the new format, I think Sunday was a clear indication that this sport is headed in the right direction.

If not, check your pulse.