1979 Daytona 500
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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.