The 2011 Daytona 500: A Reflection


(workingonmyredneck file photo)

It has been almost a week since the “feel good” story of the 2011 Daytona 500 happened. As WOMR was preparing for the trip down to Daytona this year, the over whelming story line was the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt, Sr.’s tragic death.  Most all of the media was focusing in on celebrating the life of “The Intimidator”.

However, coinciding with this 10th anniversary was the release of Michael Waltrip’s book, “In The Blink of An Eye”WOMR finished reading the before making the journey to Daytona.  It is a must read for the NASCAR fan.  Waltrip describes his early years and his desire to follow his older brother Darrell Waltrip into the racing world, his relationship with his family, specifically ol DW, his relationship with Richard Petty, and specifically his relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Mikey relives the day that he broke his 0 fer 462 string, that is how he described his lack of wins in his NASCAR career up to that point.  That day was February 18, 2001, the day that he won the Daytona 500, also the day that his good friend and boss lost his life in the Daytona 500.  It was supposed to be the very best day of his life!  Unfortunately, it turned out to be the, self described, worst day of his life!

Notwithstanding all of the above, there were media writers with two other story lines.  One of which was what it would be like if Michael Waltrip would win the 2011 Daytona 500, a fitting tribute by Michael to Dale,Sr.  Other writers were giving credence to the fact that, because Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had won the pole for 2011 Dayton 500, “the prodigal son” could have an excellent shot at winning the 2011 Daytona 500.

But not one single writer had given any thought to the idea that the Wood Brothers Racing had any possible chance to score a Daytona 500 victory!

Nevertheless, reflecting back on Trevor Bayne, the Wood Brothers, and the happenings of this year’s “Great American Race”, the story was such a fairy tale come true.  The Hollywood movie script writers, in their wildest dreams, couldn’t have written this story, and made it believable!

The fact that the Wood Brothers, one of the oldest and most storied race teams in NASCAR, had not won a Sprint Cup race in ten years.  Secondly they hire, with the help of Jack Roush, a 19 year old race car driver that is relatively unheard of to drive their very famous Motorcraft #21 Ford in race 17 races for 2011.  This combination does not make for winning the Daytona 500 these days.

Nevertheless, that is exactly what transpired on February 20, 2011.

What a great story not just for motor sports, but for all sports!  This is the story of the ultimate underdog triumphantly over-coming astronomical odds!

What are your views on this 2011 ultimate feel good story in NASCAR?


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