By admin | February 9, 2014
I have been a NASCAR fan for as long as I can remember, and a significant number of my racing memories have come from the Daytona 500. There have been 55 Daytona 500’s to this point and every one of them has been historic in its own right. In this series that will run in the days leading up to this year’s running of ‘The Great American Race’, I will list the twelve versions of the sport’s most important event that I consider to be the most noteworthy.
By Richard Allen
NASCAR has a long history of story book type endings for its races, and the 1993 Daytona 500 certainly provided one of those. Dale Jarrett held off one of the sport’s most fierce competitors in Dale Earnhardt, Sr. to grab the victory while his father and famous former racer Ned Jarrett delivered the call from the CBS broadcast booth. All of this was taking place while television cameras focused in on Dale’s mother Martha as she was essentially hiding herself from the action in the family car parked in the infield of the giant track.
The race featured a total of 30 lead changes, but it was the lead change that never occurred that provided this event’s lasting legacy. As the laps clicked away, Jarrett held the lead in his Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet with Earnhardt’s Richard Childress Racing Chevy in tow. Unlike in previous years, the slingshot move had been somewhat negated by the aerodynamic package in place at the time.
Anticipation grew as the checkered flag drew closer and closer. And the action on track was accompanied by drama on the race telecast. With his son battling for the win on the last lap, Ned Jarrett was allowed to take the lead on the call and describe the late race maneuvering.
As the cars raced toward turn three, Ned Jarrett urged, “Come on, Dale. Go, baby, go. I know he’s got it to the floorboard. He can’t do any more.”
Then as the cars made their way through turns three and four, Jarrett continued his emotional and memorable call. “Don’t let him get on the inside coming through that turn. Here he comes. It’s the Dale and Dale Show as they come through turn four. You know who I’m pulling for, it’s Dale Jarrett.”
Then, “All right, come on! Bring ‘er to the inside, Dale. Don’t let him get down there.” And finally, “He’s gonna make it! He’s gonna win the Daytona 500! Look at Martha. Can you believe it?”
This Daytona 500 may have left some long suffering Earnhardt fans regretting yet another close call in the sport’s biggest event, but the family moment shared by the Jarretts added an element rarely seen in sports.
The 1993 version of ‘The Great American Race’ was certainly one of the most historic of the 55 Daytona 500’s to have been contested.
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