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Subject: ARCHIVE: February 18, 2001 ~It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since famed auto racer and team owner DALE EARNHARDT, 49, was killed instantly this day in a final-lap collision in the Daytona 500, witnessed by millions of TV viewers, w/his death resulting in various safety improvements in NASCAR auto racing. ...

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Date Posted: Thursday, February 18, 10:37:28am

Dale Earnhardt Sr.
[ Ralph Dale Earnhardt Sr. ]
(April 29, 1951 February 18, 2001)

American professional stock car driver and team owner, who raced from 1975 to 2001 in the former NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now called the NASCAR Cup Series), most notably driving the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. The third child of racing driver Ralph Earnhardt and Martha Earnhardt, he began his career in 1975 in the World 600. Earnhardt won a total of 76 Winston Cup races over the course of his 4 decade career, including four Winston 500s (1990, 1994, 1999, and 2000) and the 1998 Daytona 500. He also earned seven Winston Cup championships, a record held with Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson. His aggressive driving style earned him the nicknames "The Intimidator", "The Man in Black", and "Ironhead", while his success at the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway also earned him the nickname, "Mr. Restrictor Plate". He is regarded as one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history.

...On February 18, 2001, Earnhardt died in a sudden last-lap crash during the Daytona 500, an event that is regarded in the racing industry
as being a crucial moment in improving safety in all aspects of car racing, especially NASCAR. Earnhardt has been inducted into
numerous halls of fame, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame inaugural class in 2010.

Learn MORE of the famed pro racer ...

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Earnhardt was the FOURTH in just an EIGHT-month span, NASCAR driver killed by a basilar skull fracture, with Adam Petty in May 2000, Kenny Irwin Jr. in July 2000, and Tony Roper in October 2000, and Earnhardt in February 2001! (NT)With subsequent safety improvements, since Earnhardt's 2001 death, NO driver has died during competition in a race of NASCAR's three major series.Thursday, February 18, 10:42:49am

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