A kid who was 10 years old when Dale Earnhardt died has won the Daytona 500, on the weekend that marked the 10th anniversary of Dale's death. During the 3rd lap of yesterday's race—in one of the remarkable sights I've ever seen—seemingly every one of the 180,000 fans at the track fell silent and held up three fingers to signify the #3 black Goodwrench Chevrolet, and the man who drove it. It’s hard to explain to those who aren't fans of the sport, but that man had a powerful hold on millions of us. It is why I still display the number 3 on the back of my two cars, it’s why I still proudly wear my 3 hat, and my 3 jacket, every chance I get. There are enough 3s in my life to guarantee that I think about him every day (I can see at least three 3s from where I'm sitting in my office right now), and I miss my friend Dale terribly. Last night I reminded my son (who is the same age as the Daytona 500 winner) that he has a special history with the greatest driver in NASCAR history.
The shelf behind my desk in my office.
Of course, Dale was missing from the after-party in Daytona yesterday. I just know the grand master would have come up behind young Trevor and given him one of his trademark bear hugs— just as The King, Richard Petty and others came to pay their respects to the new kid in town. And a word here about the Wood Brothers: The youngest driver in the history of Daytona Victory Lane rode to victory with the oldest established team in the business. These guys ran with Tiny Lund, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney and both Waltrips. They have come roaring back. How exciting to see them drenched in champagne—the beverage the race winner isn't old enough to legally consume! It was a great day for NASCAR—a new star has come up just in time, on the very day when we fans paused to remember the last great icon of the sport—the Intimidator, Dale Earnhardt.