Each sport has not less than a handful of iconic venues; taking the sphere at Fenway Park or hitting the hardwood at Madison Sq. Backyard, for instance, is a reasonably particular expertise. On the planet of motorsports, although, few tracks can examine to the Daytona Worldwide Speedway. Simply ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. about that.
Whereas nearly each motorsports fan is awed by Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a particular relationship with the observe; it’s, in fact, the location of his father’s tragic dying. Regardless of that painful actuality, although, Junior nonetheless loves the speedway as a very particular place.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. tragically died throughout the Daytona 500
Once you climb behind the wheel of a race automobile, sure dangers include the territory. Sadly, these dangers caught up with Dale Earnhardt Sr. throughout the 2001 operating of the Daytona 500.
In case you’re a racing fan, the occasions of February 18 want no introduction. Within the closing lap of the race, Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Sterling Marlin, and Ken Schrader have been all on the head of the pack. Whereas there’s some debate over whether or not he was blocking or making an attempt to win himself, the rear of Earnhardt’s automobile made contact with the entrance of Marlin’s; the Intimidator then misplaced management and veered instantly into the wall.
Though the race completed, Earnhardt’s life and profession ended at that second. That NASCAR legend suffered a deadly cranium fracture on affect.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. selected to embrace Daytona as a particular place
Given what occurred on that fateful day in 2001, it might be comprehensible if Dale Earnhardt Jr. by no means wished to return to Daytona Worldwide Speedway ever once more. The motive force, nonetheless, took the alternative strategy and embraced the observe as a very particular place.
“When he handed away right here, I had two selections: I may hate this place for it, or it may change into much more particular to me and I may change into much more related to it due to that circumstance,” Dale Jr. defined in 2018, in accordance with For the Win. “So I selected to embrace the observe extra. I knew how particular this place was to my dad, so it’s extra significant to me personally, perhaps, than to lots of the opposite opponents as a cornerstone of our sequence and the birthplace of velocity and all of the issues – The Nice American Race.”
Junior went on to say that he actively selected to embrace Daytona in a optimistic means relatively; whereas it was the location of a serious tragedy, that simply made the observe much more particular.
“However I made peace with this place a very long time in the past with what occurred and determined to recollect this because the place the place he misplaced his life. In order that’s, to me, a optimistic, not a destructive,” Earnhardt Jr. continued. “I didn’t need to really feel any destructive emotions once I got here right here as a result of I like Daytona. I like this observe, and I like the historical past. I need to be rooted on this sport, and which means I need to be at Daytona once they race right here. In order that was the selection I made a very long time in the past, and I really feel very snug right here. And I attempt to make him proud in all the pieces I do.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. actually made his dad proud at Daytona
Throughout his time behind the wheel, Dale Earnhardt Jr. discovered loads of success. His performances at Daytona, nonetheless, would have actually happy his late father.
On July 7, 2001, Dale Jr. returned to the location of his dad’s dying to race within the Pepsi 400. He claimed the checkered flag in dramatic vogue, paying a becoming tribute to the Intimidator. Junior went on to win loads of races on the speedway, together with two Daytona 500s; Dale Sr. solely received one Daytona 500 throughout his embellished profession.
Each motorsports fan will most likely inform you that the Daytona Worldwide Speedway is a reasonably particular place. Dale Earnhardt Jr. would definitely agree.