posted on Feb, 16 2004 @ 06:17 AM
If you missed the skeptical headlines three years ago following Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s win
of the Pepsi 400 on the same track his father died at five months earlier, prepare for round two of NASCAR Skeptics 101 following Jr.'s Sunday win of
the Daytona 500.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. died on the last lap of the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001. When his son Junior won on the same track just five months later, he
was greeted by headlines like: Skeptics Question Junior's Win
Now it's three years later and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won the season opener of a new era for NASCAR on the same track, at the same race his father's
death signaled the end of the old era. And the headlines already read: Planet's Align for
NASCAR's Big Day
ESPN's Justin Hagey wrote "If NASCAR were writing a script for how it wanted the world to see its sport, Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 would
be it." As NASCAR moves from it's southern roots and 33 year association with Winston to it's national efforts with $70 million sponsor Nextel, a
story book setting was laid in Daytona for the picture perfect events yet to unfold.
Seemingly defiant to the ever present terror threat, the President landed triumphantly on Air Force One just outside Daytona International Speedway
and played in the sun with reporters all afternoon without the slightest hint of a danger. Hollywood celebrities, big-name athletes from other sports
and rock stars joined the President on the long President's Day weekend mingling with fans, crew members and drivers alike. Not to let down fans
accustomed to a bit of excitement, a harrowing 12-car accident took out defending race-winner, Michael Waltrip, though everyone walked away without a
scratch to watch the media annointed heir apparent rise to the throne.
So following weeks of build up and coverage with countless television shots leading up to the race showing the Dale Earnhardt statue outside the
speedway and speculation on how Dale Jr. would do in this new era of NASCAR on the same track, in the same race, on the same day... the story ends on
that same statue the media loves so much.
Thus ending the "storybook script" of Daytona 2004, while the conspiracy theorists are just beginning. If you haven't already heard at least one
person swear the race was rigged, you aren't paying attention.
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[Edited on 16-2-2004 by RANT]