Many of us know what happened to Dale Earnhardt, Sr. in 2001 at Daytona. For those that may not, he passed away in an awful crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500. Earnhardt was one of the greatest racers in NASCAR, and his death left many friends, family, and even fans in tears at his passing. None could have been affected more than his son, Dale Jr., who finished 2nd that deadly race. 11 and a half years later and Dale Jr. has ended 4 years of winless racing and honored his father in one of the best ways with his win on Fathers' Day.
As the race drew closer and closer to the end, it was clear that a caution was the only thing that could have prevented this magical Fathers' Day story. On a day filled with many cautions (8), many began to worry that another would do just that on Jr's special day, but none came and the number 88 cruised to a 5 second victory over 2nd place Tony Stewart. This was the story NASCAR needed. In a season in which many have thought the entertainment value of NASCAR has declined, Dale Earnhardt Jr. delivered a major injection of excitement back into the sport.
Earnhardt's finish was by far the major story of the race, but this race at Michigan was filled with exciting stories that many NASCAR fans craved. A big story this season has been the length of green flag runs and the lack of cautions. However, as pointed out earlier, this race delivered 8 of them. This was probably due to the track resurfacing that allowed for blistering speeds during the race.
Another big story before the race was the fact that Carl Edwards, Jimmy Johnson, and Ryan Newman all had to start the race in the back due to engine troubles. However, poor starting positions did not stop these racers from making big moves through the field. Jimmy Johnson would end up finishing 5th, Carl Edwards 11th, and Ryan Newman 15th. The three used the 8 cautions and great running cars to put themselves in great spots to finish the race.
NASCAR fans wanted excitement and shorter green flag runs, and NASCAR delivered. They wanted a big story, and NASCAR delivered. Whether you're a fan of NASCAR's most popular driver or not, you have to appreciate this race and it's finish. This race is exactly what NASCAR needed, and it's definitely what the Earnhardt family needed.