• Feb 18, 2011
It was 10 years ago today that racing legend Dale Earnhardt Senior died while competing at the Daytona 500. It's no secret that not every motorsports afficianado is a fan of the NASCAR scene, but there's no denying the outright skill and presence that racers bring to the game both on and off the track. Nowhere was that more evident than with Earnhardt, who sprang from a long-line of circle track racers. Even if series fans rooted for a different driver, they respected Earnhardt for his down-to-earth nature and old-school approach to racing. When Earnhardt was behind the wheel, it was clear he wasn't there to make friends or play nice. He was there to win.

While Earnhardt's death was a tragedy on many levels, we can't help but feel that NASCAR lost more than an icon when he passed. Today's field is populated by overly polished, nameless media machines that lack the heart and human emotion that the old-timers brought to the table. Maybe that's why we just can't bring ourselves to flop down in front of the TV for 500 laps anymore.

For an excellent (and tear-jerking) retrospective on The Intimidator's fatal accident, check out Dale Earnhardt's Last Ride from ESPN.

[Sources: Yahoo Sports, Kansas City Star, USA Today | Image: Bruce Ackerman/AP]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not a snob. Nascar used to be cool, when they started with real cars. Considering that current cars, and cars for the past few decades aren't even remotely like what you can buy, I find it boring and insulting.

      Oh, and only turning left is lame too.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You are not a snob?

        From the guy who takes every opportunity possible to write bigoted posts against people who like NASCAR or live in the south.

        You are such an incredible hypocrite and you dumb down the entire Internet with your stupidity.

        • 3 Years Ago
        Look at the comment you one minute later! You're worse than snob, you're a flat out liar!

        Get over yourself.
        • 3 Years Ago
        hahahahahahaha!!! You got SERVED!!!! lol!
        • 3 Years Ago
        You attack NASCAR for ALL the wrong reasons. You are a snob.

        You take every opportunity to attack NASCAR, the south, and heavy duty pickups. Not once have I EVER read any of those articles I just listed without YOU saying something negative about it. You are childish, you are a snob, and you are the worst type of Internet troll there is.

        You attack NASCAR for racing cars that have absolutely no relation to their production cars, yet you don't attack F1, Le Mans Prototypes, Rolex Grand Am GT, and Aussie V8s? Wow, can you say double standard?

        And how many times have I explained to you that NASCAR doesn't only turn left? Why do I get the feeling that's all you think NASCAR is? It's like you have this judgement on drivers in NASCAR for not having as much talent as other drivers in other motorsports, yet not once have you EVER driven an 850hp, 3,400lb NASCAR-spec race car around a 2.5mi, 31 degree banked tri-oval at over 200mph with 42 other drivers around you wanting a win JUST as bad as you do.

        Would you stop your d*mm b*tching and get over yourself? The funny thing is, you're like every other Civic driver. You have to b*tch and moan about every thing because it's not what YOU like.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nascar died with Earnhardt..... RIP
        • 3 Years Ago
        LOL. It died decades ago when Chrysler kicked major ass, and then Nascar effectively banned them since the majority of their fans were Ford and GM fans. The Daytona and Superbird were amazing, it's been downhill ever since. Now it's just a bunch of identical tube framed v8 RWD versions of i4 FWD boring pieces of garbage.
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.vimeo.com/3477103

      great tribute video ESPN ran shortly afterward,..that was from the award show in NYC
      on his last championship win.

      Never was a fan,....but he could work a wheel like a madman.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Even just seeing the images of him makes me get tears and my eyes and a lump in my throat.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cant believe that was a decade ago. Wow.
      • 3 Years Ago
      You know what I remember about Dale Earnhardt? There was a well proven safety device that could have saved his life that he refused to wear. The End.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The HANS device was developed in the 80s (patent 1985) not in 2000. It had extensive testing in 1989 showing it reduces the force in the head and neck in a crash 80%. NHRA had been using it since 1996. CART made the device mandatory in 2000. Just because it wasn't well adopted in NASCAR doesn't mean it shouldn't have been.
        • 3 Years Ago
        no there wasn't, the hans device was only worn by 1 driver that day as it was not something that nascar drivers were wearing at the time and honestly i think it was just developed a year or so earlier. way to be ignorant and not know what you speak of.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nascar lost a legend the day that Dale Earnhardt died and it hasn't been the same since. He was a very talented driver and great ambassador for the sport.

      Great Lake Winter's make for a long off season of racing and nothing beats the withdrawal or cabin fever like the Rolex 24 hrs of Daytona. A race Dale SR & JR finished in 2nd place, the year we were there.

      Got home that year near the second half of the 500 and while it was exciting to watch Michael Waltrip and Jr finish 1 & 2, it did not compare to the feeling I got and the words I spoke when I heard the news that Dale Earnhardt had died, in what looked to be like a very survivable crash.

      There are a few races each year I never miss on TV and the Daytona 500 is one of them.

      Still have a 3 sticker on my vehicle.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow it's already been ten years since i stopped watching NASCAR?
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wasn't an Earnhardt fan for much of his career after he went from a Ford to a Chevrolet. And his driving style was an unmitigated mess of bully combined with arrogance. There was no dispute that he had more talent than any driver of his era. Today's drivers are simply not drivers - they steer the car - few possess Earnhardt's ability to handle his vehicle and to make it one with him. There are many drivers who will wreck a competitor to advance a spot like Earnhardt, but there are NONE now who race like a real man without whining when driven the same way. Yes, Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson I am calling you out by name. Wusses.

      With that said, during the final couple years of his life, it became apparent that there was more to Earnhardt than a bull in a china closet. As much as I wanted to continue hating him, he was a real man, unpolished and genuine. He was the anti-Jimmy Johnson. And seeing how Earnhardt changed when his sons started racing and how he handled his other drivers nuturing them while continuing to lead and to demand much from himself and others.

      It was with great sadness that I felt losing Earnhardt. Yes, NASCAR lost its soul after this situation. Quite honestly NASCAR today is a complete joke - it has only changed when major deaths have happened and they pay lipservice to safety to this day even though they've made strives after a life has been donated. I miss Earnhardt because he was a man's man who raced with the give and take of a champion and wouldn't whine - he'd call you out, but he wasn't slapping another driver like Jeff Gordon has. Earnhardt would use his fist.

      Yes, today's NASCAR is all about being Kasey Kahne - a pretty metrosexual wuss that makes women want to watch but hasn't advanced the sport with true driving talent. As much as Jeff Gordon has won, you'd think he'd be a stronger man, but his wins aren't from being able to actually drive better than others - he's been an emotional punk through much of his career wrecking drivers but unable to take a return fender rub like a real man. Kyle Busch has Earnhardt's brashness, but inside Kyle is a heart of a child, not a real man. Kyle lives for the moment - Earnhardt lived for the race and was a superior tactician. And for all of his championships, perhaps NASCAR's worst actual driver is Jimmy Johnson who is more a product of being caught cheating 13 times during his championship run and having a pit crew that so closely hugs the line of legality that it is surprising he isn't caught cheating more often. Jimmy Johnson is not a pure racer - he's a pilot who has great stuff but can't overcome a bad car like Earnhardt could. And, Jimmy has none of the intangible that Earnhardt had - the ability to "see air" in drafting and being able to strategically plot where he needed to be in a race to win. Johnson is just another metrosexual, wimpy, soft, slick, PR-created driver seat occupier without pure driving instincts. While Earnhardt could carry an inferior team, there is no sense that Johnson could ever bear the weight of proving his skill. He's never had a weak crew and appears spoiled and pampered.
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.vimeo.com/3477103

      A tribute in his own words.....
        • 3 Years Ago
        Other post didn't show,...until I posted again,....weird....no avatar on the OP either...
      • 3 Years Ago
      It amazes me how many feel compelled to spend the time commenting to tell us how they don't watch Nascar or they haven't watched since Dale died or whatever. You people are not "racing" fans... you have your little niche that you believe is "real" racing and turn your nose up to anything you don't like or understand. I can give you plenty of reasons why your form of racing sucks or why it is great... so just give this crap a rest. Dale was/is/ and forever shall be a legend. He would be next to Foyt and Andretti on the Mt Rushmore of racing drivers. He raced to pay the bills and not to make friends, the rules allowed him to get away with it and he did it because "it pays more to win". He also took his success and quietly became very very generous behind the scenes with his spoils. He was the unofficial drivers voice in the garage and in Nascar's ear and left a void that will never be filled. RIP Intimidator.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yes, He could wheel a race car. He also was one of the dirtiest drivers I ever saw. He used his car as a battering ram to knock other racers out of his way. As a former racer myself, I always felt a man should race clean, and use his skill as a means to pass, not a bumper. I realize that the "E" fanboys will vote me out of here in a blink, but he was no favorite of mine. He was a driver, and his death was terribly regretable, but this is the truth. So, "Have at it" fanboys, and vote me off, but many of us who used to race and not sit in the stands know what I say here is true.
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