Thomas Bowles, who covered NASCAR for Sports Illustrated, describes one of the greatest races he ever witnessed:

500 feet before the finish line of the 53rd Daytona 500, Trevor Bayne started cruising towards an impossible dream. He was about to become the youngest winner of the Great American Race, driving a car whose co-owner, Glen Wood, is on the short list for the NASCAR Hall of Fame despite last winning nearly a decade ago. As a record-setting race (74 lead changes, 16 caution flags, Valentine’s Day-like two-car drafts) came to a close, it was clear these memorable few seconds transcended them all.

That’s when the atmosphere at NASCAR’s 2.5-mile oval changed into something rare; fans of all 43 drivers uniting as one, they stood and roared in approval of the type of achievement you don’t see in person but once a lifetime. So as that No. 21 Ford crossed the finish line, the walls of the infield couldn’t keep out 21 years of passion for motorsports in my own heart. Before I could control it, my hands were coming together to join them, caught up with fans and media alike in a moment we could all appreciate – but one fans and media are told never, ever to experience together. That day marked my first and last claps working as a NASCAR reporter for SI.com.

Yes, they fired him for clapping! Somebody give this man a job.

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