There isn't any argument that the Daytona 500 is the most prestigious race of the NASCAR season.  And, with it being the season-opener, it is the one that teams have seemingly spent the majority of their off-seasons preparing for.  And, it will forever change the way the winner is introduced.

But, as big a deal as it is, if your favorite driver does not have a great day, don't sweat it.  In the bigger picture, it just won't matter that much. 

Here are the facts: it counts exactly the same as the other 26 races in the regular season.  Not double or triple, the same.  It's also something of a one-off.  Virtually nothing you learn at Daytona will translate into anything useful the rest of the year.  What you see at Atlanta and the west coast swing will give you a much better idea as to what kind of year it's going to be.

So, enjoy the 500 for what it is.  But, also know, the rest of the year begins as soon as the haulers pull through the tunnel leaving the track.