Tragedy Puts Earnhardt in Victory Lane

12 02 2008

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -A blind child who could see. A deaf child who could hear. A miracle is a miracle, no matter how short it lasts.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s big victory in his debut with his new team was a speed bump compared to one crew member’s struggle to help his family with life and death – all while continuing his work to put Earnhardt in victory lane.

That’s why Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports crew dedicated their win in Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout exhibition race to teammate Joey Arnold, whose 4-year-old son, Cayden, had died eight days earlier.

Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. choked up with emotion during the postrace news conference, saying how stunned he was to return to the team’s shop in Charlotte from a recent test session and find Arnold already back at work and talking about, of all things, winning the Daytona 500.

“I said ‘Joey, what are you doing here?’ His kid had died the day before,” Eury said. “He said, ‘This is my best chance to win the Daytona 500 and I want to be a part of it.”‘

Dale, Jr

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