At around 6 p.m. last night, JR Motorsports communications director Mike Davis was eating with his pregnant wife, Sarah, at an On The Border restaurant in North Carolina.
Sarah had excused herself from the table, and a few minutes passed before the restaurant manager came by with some unexpected news for Mike: Sarah's water had broken, and she was in the couple's car in need of a ride to the hospital.
The next 24 hours were some of the most eventful of Mike Davis' life. On the day when his longtime employer and close friend Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke a four-year winless streak to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan, Davis was watching in a hospital room after he and his wife welcomed a baby daughter earlier Sunday morning.
"It's been a long, long day, but one that personally I'll never forget," Davis said from the hospital, where his wife and newborn daughter, Lillian Anne, were resting comfortably. "Crazy day, man. Goodness gracious!"
The couple's second child (they're calling her "Lilly") arrived at 3:03 a.m. on Father's Day morning. And before Earnhardt fans get too excited over the "3" in the timing, Davis said he doesn't buy into all the numerology stuff. Having been with Earnhardt Jr. since the 2004 Daytona 500, Davis said he's heard every sort of connect-the-dots theory imaginable from fans.
Still, while watching the race from the hospital room – as doctors and nurses came in and out every few minutes – Davis had a hunch Earnhardt Jr. was finally going to snap the streak.
"This is one of those days where you just had a feeling that after four years, it was all going to click," Davis said. "It was his race. Even if there was a caution with 10 or 15 to go, I was like, 'He has them on restarts.' I didn't think there was anyone that could beat him."
Davis couldn't help but be excited as the laps wound down, but he also tried to remain aware of his surroundings. If he did have an outburst, he figured, "They've got screaming babies all over the place, so surely I wasn't going to be any more disruptive."
His wife caught a couple hours of sleep during the day, but Davis hasn't been able to catch a nap since everything started happening. On Sunday night, with his adrenaline still pumping, he figured his sleepless streak wouldn't be ending anytime soon.
Since he was still awake, Davis wondered aloud about the possibility of swinging by Earnhardt Jr.'s property for the party that was sure to be happening later tonight – but he wasn't sure if he had permission from his wife.
"Don't know if I've got a hall pass for that or not," he said with a laugh. "I've never been in this situation!"
Few people have. And though there was a part of Davis that wanted to be at Michigan celebrating with his friend, he knew there was a greater purpose in staying home this weekend.
"It stinks when you see him win and you're not there, but this is the one time I can say, 'No, I was in the right place,'" Davis said. "I don't regret it one bit, obviously.
"Watching him win and celebrate on TV was just as gratifying for me, because I got to see two big events today: One on TV and one right before my eyes. Pretty incredible day."