Dale Earnhardt's (No. 3) death overshadowed one of the greatest 500s in recent memory.
It has been 12 years, yet you still see the commemorative T-shirts and decals with the stylized No. 3 paying tribute to the Intimidator. It's been 12 years, and for some, the pain still hasn't left.
His crash in the 2001 Daytona 500 overshadowed one of the greatest Daytona 500s ever run. It also overshadowed a truly emotional win for underdog Michael Waltrip, who finally scored his first win in 463 starts. It also left a huge void in NASCAR, as no driver was even close to filling in Earnhardt's shoes, not even his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
But what if he wasn't taken from us in that last-lap crash? Even more, what if he didn't crash at all?
He might have still finished third, if not possibly shuffled back to at least sixth. He would have celebrated with his two drivers who finished 1-2 in the Great American Race, and he also would have celebrated the fact that he was now a Daytona 500-winning car owner.
Would he have won his record-breaking eighth championship? That's debatable, but he was definitely capable. He would have added on to his win total and possibly surpassed 80 wins.
If he were still alive today, he would have retired by now, and Dale Earnhardt Incorporated would still be a contending team. The NASCAR landscape would have been a lot different, but we would still see that Cheshire Cat grin, and that is something the fans miss.