Michael Waltrip capped the 10-year anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death by winning the season-opening Trucks Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Waltrip, driving for Earnhardt, won the 2001 Daytona 500, but his victory lane celebration was darkened when he learned that his friend Dale Earnhardt had been killed in a crash on the last lap of the race.
If poetic justice rings a bell, Waltrip won the 2001 Daytona race on February 18th and repeated with a Daytona Truck victory ten years to the day. Waltrip passed Elliott Sadler in the final hundred yards of the race. Waltrip choked up talking about what the win meant, especially since it came a decade to the day after his first victory at Daytona.
Waltrip was driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. back then, and his frivolity turned to fright on Dec. 18, 2001, when word spread that his close friend and car owner was badly injured on the final lap of the Daytona 500. Earnhardt was pronounced dead a short time later, and Waltrip never got to celebrate what should have been the biggest victory of his life.
Waltrip said. "Today, obviously with it being the 10th anniversary of that terrible day, I wanted to be able to tell people that I was here in honor of Dale." Friday night’s win also made Waltrip the 22nd driver to win in each of NASCAR’s top three series.
Daytona International Speedway now turns to the Nationwide series race today at 1:00 pm and the Daytona 500 on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Michael Waltrip is racing in both of these events. It should be some great racing!
That's it for now. More soon.
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