Ten years ago, the world of racing suffered a shocking and unbelievable loss of a renowned and exceptional race car driver. On February 18th of 2001, NASCAR lost the great and highly respected Dale “The Intimidator” Earnhardt, Sr.
Earnhardt’s death left a huge impact to the NASCAR organization and the fans. The world of racing mourned his loss greatly. No one expected the remarkably skilled “Intimidator” would die such a tragic death—and that his deathbed was his beloved racing car, a black no. 3 Chevrolet.
The racing legend was speeding alongside Sterling Marlin and Ken Schrader on Turn three of the final lap when Earnhardt’s no. 3 car bumped against Marlin’s, and the impact caused the Chevrolet race car to lose control. Earnhardt tried to regain control but it was next to impossible with the high rate of speed he was running. As the audience watched in horror, Schrader’s no. 36 car hit Earnhardt’s and the no. 3 car slammed against the wall at an approximate speed of 155 to 160 miles per hour. And just like that, the world lost a valuable race car driver at the end of Daytona 500.
His death was highly publicized and the media chronicled the aftermath events religiously. NASCAR and the police launched a massive investigation on the tragedy, prompting the organization to introduce new safety measures and improvements in auto racing.
At tomorrow’s Daytona 500 race, NASCAR and fans will pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt Sr. by offering him a moment of silence on the third lap. Everyone will be asked to raise three fingers in the air in memory of the racing legend.
His son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will join the Daytona 500 race again on Sunday to honor his late father.