I am sure that you are wondering just what the heck does that title have to do with NASCAR? No, I am not talking about Elton John’s song. This was Dale Jarrett’s last point race, he has called it quits.
We NASCAR fans hear all the time about the NASCAR family, it is a very close knit bunch of racers. The Jarrett family, the Petty family, and the Wood brothers have been an integral part of NASCAR since its inception in 1948. From early on Lee Petty, Richard’s dad, then Richard competed against the Wood brothers famous number 21 and Ned Jarrett’s number 11, Dale’s dad. Ned retired in his early 30’s, a two time NASCAR champion, to be a TV announcer. He is also a very respected”elder statesman” of NASCAR.
Well folks, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”!!! Dale followed his father into NASCAR, but it wasn’t very easy for him. He struggled early on to try to get into “The Big Show”. His break came at the expense of another driver, Neil Bonnett. Neil was the driver of the famous #21 for the Wood brothers, but was injured in a wreck. The Wood brothers asked Dale to fill in and drive their car. He won the race at Michigan and the door was opened!!! Remember the NASCAR family thing??????
Well today the family theme was illustrated again. Dale’s father, Ned Jarrett, got the honor of waving the green flag to start Dale’s final race. It is really cool how things go full circle. The most memorable for me was when Dale Jarrett won his first Daytona 500. Ned was one of the commentators for CBS, who was airing the race live. Dale Jarret was dueling in the final laps with “The Intimidator”. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Neither had won that race at that time, Earnhardt had been sooooo close for so many years! You might remember this race as “The Dale and Dale Show”, as Dad and commentator Ned Jarrett called it. Ned called the race as only a dad could do, with pride and emotion!!! “Bring it on home like I taught you to do, Dale”! He did, Dale Jarrett won the first of his three Daytona 500’s and gave us a great memory.
Now Dale is following his father’s foot steps once again, now into the broadcast booth of ESPN!
Dale, thanks for the memories, you are a class act!!!
Now for the race analysis:
This was a new Bristol! Now longer do you wad up sheet metal to try to win the race. With the progressive banking, you see side-by-side racing and passing. That is more exciting than “punting” cars out of the way to pass!!
However, there was one exception!!! Mr. Harvick drove it in way too deep on Mr Stewart going into turn one and got into the side of “The World’s Greatest Driver” and spun him!!! OOOOOPPPPSS!
Jeff Burton slipped past both Harvick and Stewart to pull of the win. He was followed by both of his teammates, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.With that Richard Childress pulled off a first for his organization, finishing first, second, and third!!!!!!