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Simpler, happier times return to Daytona

What did Ed Hinton learn from Daytona 500 Pole Day? The real racers are back, and so are the simpler, happier times.

Updated: February 8, 2009, 11:52 PM ET
By Ed Hinton | ESPN.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Sunday was a lovely time to walk the pit road at Daytona, feeling good about nearly every face you saw, feeling better about this place than you'd felt in an awfully long time.

The real racers were back.

Some wouldn't have made it here if the busted economy hadn't run off the for-profit types and made room for those who come because they love it.

Take Jeremy Mayfield, fresh off his farm with a 19-day-old race team, he suddenly ...

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