It was an exciting Daytona 500. Several crashes took out several big names and favorites going into the race. High Point, North Carolina's Ryan Blaney looked like he had it in the bag, but in typical Daytona fashion, cars moved around and Aric Almirola was in the lead. It then looked like Aric was going to win, but then Welcome, North Carolina's Austin Dillon put a bumper to him- reminiscent of the late, great Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel- and the 3 car returned to Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway.
As successful as Dale Earnhardt was at Daytona, he only won the Daytona 500 once. It was 20 years ago this week, on February 15th, 1998. Who could forget seeing the crews of all of the other teams high five Dale on his way to Victory Lane? What a magical moment in racing!
And on that day, a seven year old Austin Dillon was in Victory Lane with Dale Earnhardt. Dillon's grandfather is Richard Childress, owner of the 3 car then and now.
Today marks the 17 year anniversary of Earnhardt's crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 that took his life. I can't help but think that Big E is smiling down at seeing his 3 car in Victory Lane at Daytona.