Normally, I take a small amount of blogspace each February to make a guess as to who will win Daytona. This year, I didn’t. There were too many variables—new surface, updated cars, and the two-car tandem drafting style the Cup drivers have been developing over the past couple of years but made their own today. I just wanted to sit back and watch.
With that, I fully recognize we are now ten years removed from the passing of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., and everyone who hurt so much on that sad day have every right to their sorrow. However, when Darrell Waltrip says that maybe now that we’re here we should perhaps move on, it was beyond obvious that continually picking away at the open wound through commercials (Chevy aired one I thought was over the top) and remembrances was more than any of us needed.
It seemed clear that the crowd wanted some type of connection, closure, ideally in the form of Dale Jr. taking the flag first, but that wasn’t going to happen. After him, any of the Childress cars winning would’ve satisfied the hungry crowd….
But then there was Trevor Bayne.
He walked around the garage earlier this week wearing his hard card because security guards kept stopping him. They didn’t know who he was. I dare say he won’t have to do that next weekend at Phoenix. The big money wasn’t on the Wood Brothers today, though their part-time schedule has had a lot to do with their resurgence and today’s success. (We have to wonder whether now Trevor and the Woods wind up with a deal for the full season; one can only hope) Now, everything’s changed.
Maybe that’s the answer to a lot of people’s prayers, that we could as a sport and its fans move on from the ghastly Dale Sr. tragedy—a young kid in a good car shocking the racing world by pulling off the Daytona 500, his first Cup win in only his second start.
Nice going, Trevor. Thank you, young man. Maybe now we can start picking up the pieces from ten years ago, allow Dale to take his place in our collective memory and, as Darrell Waltrip said, move on.