I was trying to figure what I would say about the anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s passing. I debated about what I wanted to post or even I wanted to post for that matter. I figured as a fan of NASCAR I should say something about the anniversary. I decided to forego my post on Friday since I had already remembered Dale earlier in the week.
As part of my after Christmas shopping back in December, I purchased a new calendar for work. I was debating between several calendars and found it…a NASCAR calendar. Every day this calendar has some tidbit about NASCAR. Whether is was the definition of a term or informaiton about a track/driver, etc. I tore off February 17 to unover the 18th. So what does this have to do with this post. There was also another piece of NASCAR history that happened on February 18.
Dateline…February 18, 1979. I was not even 8 years old that year and I had idea that NASCAR even existed. But now, I know how significant this day was for all NASCAR fans. This was the first time the Daytona 500 would show the race live lap-by-lap courtesy of CBS sports. NASCAR was delivered every week like it is now. As with NASCAR it delivered. In case you don’t know….Richard Petty won the race, but I don’t think that is what most people remember. Most remember the fight down in the infield between the Allison Brothers (Donny and Bobby) and Cale Yarborough. This race brought a national spotlight to our sport and well, the rest is history.
I caught the tail end of the truck race on Friday night. With truck racing at Daytona you never know what you are going to get and Friday night was no different. I was hoping Elliot Sadler was going to have a great race and even win. But a late crash which pretty much wiped out the field, put both Elliot and Michael Waltrip in spots 1 and 2 respectively. To be honest, I don’t think the rest of the field had a chance to past them. As the green flag flew, I began to cheer for Michael. I mean this anniversary of his first Daytona 500 win as well as the anniversary of his friend’s passing. He was in the second spot and had a great chance to win the race. Everything was coming in to place for him as they headed into the last turn on the last lap. Out pulled Waltrip and it was on to the checkers. Sorry to all the Sadler fans, it was not going to be your night. Waltrip passed Sadler for the win! I was cheering so loud for him that I upset my 2-year-old as well as my 7-year old. This was his first win in a truck at Daytona. Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script for Waltrip. It was just an awesome sight to see.
I missed the Nationwide race yesterday. I was on my way to Houston for a mini-vacation. But don’t worry I was monitoring the race via Twitter and Facebook. While waiting for the plane to leave big D, I saw that Tony won!!!! That would be his fourth Nationwide race in a row. Tony is just scary good. I am hoping he will be able to take all that momentum today and win the 500. This will his 13th attempt to win the 500.
I may not be at home today to watch the race (I’m on a mini-vacation in Houston), but I will be sitting in the hotel room watching the boys take it to Daytona today. I will be cheering loudly for my driver so those in the rooms next time to mine need to consider this their only warning.
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Nice post. I honestly didn’t realize that the first live televised race took place on the 18th. Wow.
I didn’t either until I flipped over my calendar. Lately I have been getting into NASCAR history and I thought this would be something to share.