Top of the Morning, Feb. 14, 2019


Listen to this article

When he attended Illini games with his son at Memorial Stadium, BOB FURTNEY cringed at sitting in what he called "nosebleed seats."

That's where he'll be Sunday at the Daytona 500 — and he couldn't be happier.

"The higher you are, the better off you are," the 60-year-old Champaign County hog farmer said. "You can see the whole track."

Furtney first scored Daytona tickets about a decade ago and hasn't missed a race since. He and his family enjoy the bumper-to-bumper action that comes with Speedweeks — as well as warm weather — ahead of what always is a hectic spring on 400 acres back home.

"I feel so fortunate to be able to do this," he said. "We're just simple farmers. This is huge for us."

Sunday's plan is to enjoy JAKE OWEN's pre-race concert and root for KYLE BUSCH to take the checkered flag from his seats just east of the start-finish line.

"Anybody can win — that's what I like about Daytona," he said. "The role of favorite is pretty much out the window."

Are you making the trip to Daytona? Let News-Gazette Media's Jim Rossow know at