Scene Daily has the story behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2001 win at the Pepsi 400, at the same racetrack his father was killed at just six months earlier:
The week before NASCAR returned to Daytona for the first time after the 2001 Daytona 500, [Dale Earnhardt Jr.] took some friends there, in part to show them the place but also to see how he felt. Like a man going ice fishing who isn’t sure if the ice is thick enough to hold him, he stepped gingerly onto the grounds. The ice didn’t crack. He didn’t sink. He felt good. He found he still liked the place.
Reading that story, and watching the video of the celebration (go watch it), reminds me what this young kid went through, and the story he’s had to live with his entire life.
Here’s my prediction for Saturday night: Junior breaks his two-year winless streak and gets back into victory lane.