Dale Earnhardt Daytona 500 Victory

Arguably the most talented driver in the history of NASCAR Cup Series racing, Dale Earnhardt won his seventh series championship in 1994. He is the only driver in NASCAR's history to win the rookie of the year award (1979) and the series championship (1980) in successive seasons. Earnhardt's hard-driving style earned him 76 series wins, $41,538,362 in career winnings and 25,706 laps led. He is the all-time race winner at Daytona International Speedway, with 29 wins in three different divisions. His emotional 1998 victory in the Daytona 500 came after years of late-race heartbreaks that kept him out of Victory Lane in the season-opening race. Earnhardt is a five-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association's Driver of the Year award (1980, '87, '90, '94, '86 -- co-winner with Tim Richmond). He is also a two time winner of the American Driver of the Year award (1987, '94). Dale Earnhardt tragically died in a last-lap wreck in the 2001 Daytona 500.

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2001 Daytona Dale Earnhardt win
The race after Dale Sr. Died, Dale jr won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona

2001 Daytona 500 Last Lap & Post Race
Last lap of race & post race coverage live coverage. There are lots of posts of this race here, but they always seem to be cut up or they have some kind of "poignant" music covering up the audio, so having my own tape of the whole race, I decided we needed an unedited version as it was live on TV at the time it happened w. the original audio the victory lane & the commentary before everyone knew how serious the whole deal was. The only things I cut out were the commercials & the tag at the end closing the broadcast and some brief stuff (part of the field rundown) to keep this under 10 minutes. There is an interesting roof-top (NOT in-car) camera shot of the crash from Earnhardt's car that I didn't even remember and hadn't seen since (I hadn't looked at this tape since it happened). As I remember watching this live, after the interview w. Ken Schrader, I said "he's dead" and didn't turn the TV off after Fox went off the air, but switched over to ESPN and waited for the inevitable announcement. I wasn't myself an Earnhardt fan. I rooted for Ward Burton, who had a strong car that day and looked like a threat, but was caught up in the big wreck earlier in the race. That he wasn't a fluke was proved when he won the next year. But even though Earnhardt wasn't my favorite driver, and sometimes didn't like what he did on the track (mainly wrecking Terry Labonte at Bristol & stealing that race, after which I hated him for a while) he seemed to be a good guy off the track and this was a sad day in racing. Also interesting to note is that Fox "missed" the finish of the race, having the camera on DW when Michael's car crossed the finish line. This was an incredible bonehead move, but something that seems to be a plague in dramatic races on TV. It happened in the 1992 Indy 500, the closest finish in that race's history, when the director went to a shot from above the flag stand and, as the cars went over the finish line nose to nose, they were covered by the checkered flag waving and no one on TV saw who won! LOL! A lesson to TV directors of close & dramatic races. Keep the camera on the race track, not on relatives in the booth, on wives in the pits or the guy waving the checkered flag.

The Day - Remembering Dale Earnhardt (Full)
The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt

2/23/14 - Daytona - Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins second Daytona 500
Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds off a hard charging Denny Hamlin to win his second Daytona 500. Junior lead the final 18 laps in Daytona. There was a wreck on the final lap that lead to Kyle Busch crossing the start/finish line in reverse. The race saw 42 lead changes and seven cautions.