By Jared Turner
I’m Just Sayin’ …
▸ It’s hard to believe this Speedweeks marks the 15- year anniversary of the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. One can only imagine how different the sport might be today if The Intimidator was still around. It’s safe to assume he probably wouldn’t have been too keen on the Chase format, a onerace, winner-take-all championship race and the concept of “freezing” the field, among other changes introduced since his death. Then again, Big E was always unpredictable, so it’s hard to say exactly what he would think about NASCAR in 2016.
▸ A year ago at this time, allegations of domestic violence swirled around Kurt Busch following a high-profile domestic dispute with ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll in the fall of 2014. Busch, who was suspended by NASCAR during Speedweeks and then reinstated after being cleared of any criminal charges, was forced to sit out the Daytona 500 and two other races while on indefinite suspension. He comes to Daytona with a lot less baggage this time around. In fact, the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion is engaged to be married to his now-girlfriend, Ashley Van Metre. So compared to last year at this time, Busch is in a much better place.
▸ Speaking of relationships, don’t you think it’s high time that Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Amy Reimann spill the beans about when they’re finally going to tie the knot? Heck, they’ve been engaged since the middle of last summer, and the masses . that’s Junior Nation and more . are dying to know when the “I do’s” are going to be said. When an announcement is made about when the couple will tie the knot, it will come from Amy and not Dale. How can we be so sure? Junior said as much when asked about his wedding plans during the off-season.