Dale's Done Drivin'
After being clipped from behind by another racer, Dale Earnhardt Sr's #3 car, spun out of control and crashed into a concrete wall. It was the final lap of the Daytona 500 and the final race for Earnhardt. He died from head injuries just minutes after the crash.
Earnhardt was one of the greatest NASCAR racers ever. He was nicknamed Iron Horse and The Intimidator for the way he drove on the track. He was tough and competitive and would do almost anything to win. Over his career, he won 76 races. But it's pretty tough to intimidate a concrete wall. It's not like NASCAR 2001 on your Playstation, where you can plough through a wall, do 6 spectacular flips and then still continue driving. The real NASCAR circuit has drivers going so fast and racing so tightly that even some of the best safety equipment isn't enough.
Earnhart, who was from North Carolina, started racing cars in local events when he was just 14. He entered the NASCAR circuit when he was 24 and would go on to become one of North America's most popular racecar drivers. He passed his love for speed on to his son, Dale Jr, who entered the NASCAR tour during the 2000 season - winning two races as a rookie. Dale Jr. was just a few yards ahead of his Dad when the crash happened on February 18th, 2001.
It's the thrill and adrenaline from all that speed that makes car racing so exciting. If you've ever ridden a go-cart (which usually doesn't go much faster than 30 miles an hour), you know how much fun the rush of the racetrack can be. But Earnhart's crash is also a reminder that the need for speed is also what makes racecar driving one of the most dangerous and even deadly sports.