Five 500 stories we'd like to see

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- You might not remember that Jimmie Johnson won the 2013 Daytona 500, but you probably remember "The Kiss."

It happened on pit road during prerace festivities when rapper 50 Cent awkwardly kissed Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews.

Videos of Andrews trying to avoid the kiss with a slick bob and weave went viral. Well more than half as many people viewed it on YouTube as the 16.7 million who reportedly watched the 500 on Fox.

Mr. 50 -- he actually was called that in a strange but entertaining Saturday news conference -- is back for the 2014 Daytona 500 representing his company SMS Audio, which is an associate sponsor on the Swan Racing entries of Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman.

He's apparently excited to be here, saying, "The women in here are extremely hot. Outside of going to church, maybe, you'll find good women at NASCAR."


As for The Kiss, 50 said, "I wanted to kiss her. She handled it amazingly."

How can he top that? He promised to kiss Whitt if he wins the Great American Race on Sunday.

That would be memorable and awkward -- and most certainly would go viral -- but it's not a likely scenario.

Here are five storylines that would rival, and perhaps top, that:

Historic win for Danica Patrick -- First, she'd probably get a memorable kiss from boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in Victory Lane, which I'm guessing would be the first time two drivers have locked lips after the Daytona 500. She also might have a kiss for NASCAR "King" Richard Petty, as in kiss my grits. Patrick was made the center of the big controversy in Speedweeks when Petty said she could not win a race unless everybody else stayed home. I happen to disagree. I could name five drivers she could beat but won't mention names so as not to offend. Patrick came close a year ago, running third on the last lap before being shuffled back to eighth. If she wins Sunday, and she could in a race that takes as much luck as it does skill, it would be the most memorable storyline in NASCAR since she won the pole here a year ago.

Tony Stewart's elusive 500 win -- The three-time champion almost lost his leg in a Sprint Car wreck last season, for goodness' sake. To win his first Daytona 500 in his first Sprint Cup race since then would tug at the heartstrings of everybody in the sport. OK, maybe not Petty, whom Stewart dissed with a tacky show of disrespect in defending Patrick. NASCAR, in fact, should consider taking the 500 victory away from Stewart because the titanium in his leg was outside the legal weight parameters.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Victory Lane -- Does this need an explanation? Anytime NASCAR's most popular driver wins, it's big because he's popular and he doesn't win very much -- only nine times since he won the 2004 Daytona 500, only four times the past nine seasons. A win Sunday would be his second greatest feat since claiming the 2013 Cup championship under the 2014 rules.

Austin Dillon and the 3 -- Three. Enough said. The Richard Childress Racing rookie is driving the No. 3 that hasn't been on the track in NASCAR's premier series since Dale Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. I can see the stands filled with fans wearing black cowboy hats and holding up three fingers now. This one writes itself.

Petty vs. Stewart -- The seven-time Daytona 500 champion said he's ready to accept Stewart's challenge and race Patrick. Stewart said he'd supply Petty with a car. How about the No. 14 for Sunday's race? I'd put my money on the 76-year-old who has won 200 times in NASCAR to Patrick's … uh, none. He's only five years older than Morgan Shepherd was last season when he started a race at New Hampshire. Shepherd finished only four spots behind Patrick that day, and Petty has a slightly better résumé than NASCAR's resident roller skater. This would be huge. Not only would it win the bet with Stewart but it would put Petty in the Chase and in position for an eighth title as NASCAR surely would give him an exception on having to run the next 25 races. And he could take the checkered flag and stick it up Stewart's you know what, although he's too classy to do that.