Thursday, November 4, 2010

RCR Dominated at 'Dega

My dad and I have been attending NASCAR races at Talladega Superspeedway since July of 1988. In fact, from 1988 through 2000, we attended at least one race every year and in several years attended both. We returned late Sunday night from our latest weekend at the track. We watched the Camping World Truck Series Mountain Dew 250, won by Kyle "Whiny" Busch, on Saturday and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Amp Energy Juice 500, won by Clint Bowyer, on Sunday. In all the years of attending races there, this weekend was the first time I've seen vehicles flip both days. Ron Hornaday, Jr. flipped his truck on Saturday and A.J. Allmendinger matched the feat on the next to last lap of the 500 on Sunday.

 The field rolling to the green flag to start the Amp Energy Juice 500.

Sunday's race was dominated by the cars owned by Richard Childress Racing, including Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, and Jeff Burton. All three led the race at some point with Bowyer and Harvick ultimately finishing first and second in a photo finish. NASCAR officials took several minutes to review video tape before declaring Bowyer the winner. Others ran well, too, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kyle "Whiny" Busch, Matt Kenseth, and David Reutimann. In my opinion, it was Dale Jr.'s best race in a long, long time, but unfortunately, it came to a pre-mature end when he and Jeff Burton wrecked about 55 laps from the end. We Earnhardt fans thought we might see Dale Jr. in victory lane on Sunday which would have been sweet. It was ten years ago in this very race that we watched his dad win for the last time. I was blessed to be there that day, too, when "The Intimidator" came from 17th place with five laps to go and won. I still think about that come from behind victory every time I return to Talladega. It's a great memory that helps soothe the pain from the horrible day at Daytona just four months later.

The field of 43 cars lined up on pit road minutes before the start of the Amp Energy Juice 500.

I learned some things from Dale Sr., such as working hard to reach a goal and never giving up. Those lessons are part of the reason I am still alive today. Dale Jr. led at several different times on Sunday. During one of them, I leaned over to my dad and said, "I bet the Ol' #3 is looking down through those mirrored shades with that big grin of his on his face right now." Dad said, "Yep. I bet he is."

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and Darryl Moran on Flicker.

Thanks for the life lessons and the great memories, Dale. I have not forgotten them.

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