On today in 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr., considered one of the biggest drivers in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) history, dies at age 49 in a last-lap crash at the 43rd Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Earnhardt was driving his famous black No. 3 Chevrolet and vying for third place when he collided with another car, crashed right into a wall then. After being cut from his car, Earnhardt, whose tough, aggressive driving style earned him the nickname “The Intimidator,” was taken up to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead of head injuries.
Earnhardt have been involved with another crash at the Daytona 500 in 1997, when his car flipped down on the backstretch upside. He were able to escape serious injury and continued to win Daytona in 1998, his first and only victory for the reason that race after 20 years of trying. The 200-lap, 500-mile Daytona 500, that was first run in 1959 at the newly opened Daytona International Speedway, is among NASCAR’s premiere events along with its season opener.
Earnhardt, whose paternalfather was a race car driver, was created on April 29, 1951, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and dropped out of senior high school to pursue their own racing career. He continued to become among NASCAR’s most successful and respected competitors, winning 76 Winston Cup (now referred to as the Sprint Cup) races in his career and taking home an archive seven Cup championships, a feat attained by an added driver in his sport just, Richard Petty. In addition to his legendary accomplishments as a driver, Earnhardt was also an effective businessman and NASCAR team owner. The 2001 Daytona race which cost Earnhardt his life was won by Michael Waltrip, who drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI). Earnhardt’s son, Dale Jr., also a DEI driver (until 2008, when he began driving for the Hendrick Motorsports team), took second invest the race.
Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death in 2001 made him the fourth NASCAR driver to die inside a nine-month period and finally prompted NASCAR officials to implement a number of more stringent safety regulations, like the usage of head-and-neck restraints.