On February 18, 2001, NASCAR was changed forever. That’s when, on the final corner of the final lap of the famous Daytona 500, one of the sport’s most important figures, Dale Earnhardt, lost his life. It was an unexpected tragedy that some 16 years later still resonates across all of auto racing. The legend’s death led to numerous technological and safety advances. It also put his son, Dale Jr., squarely in the spotlight.
His Father Personified The Sport
And His Death Destroyed Some Of The NASCAR Mystique
Similar to what happened when Hank Williams Jr. started to step up for his country music icon father, there were a lot of expectations for Junior. He was going to save the sport. He was going to elevate NASCAR to the next level. Between his performance on the track and his demeanor off it, many wondered if he’d ever live up to the Earnhardt name.
It Was Up To Dale Earnhardt Jr. To Carry On The Family Name
Now, in a new interview with ESPN, we are gaining insight into the struggles Junior faced when returning to Daytona. According to the article, a year after his Dad’s death, the proposed protege went back to the infamous track where, believe it or not, the skid marks from the accident remained. Junior surveyed the area to see how he would react. His feelings confirmed what he already knew.
And He’s Done So With Success Both On The Track
And Now, In His Personal Life