NASCAR

April 29th 1951 A Nascar Legend is Born

4/29/08 in NASCAR   |   frevr3fan   |   0 respect

A star was born. April 29, 1951. A Nascar superstar to some. But yet to his family. He was a son, father, brother and also a husband. With a twinkle in his eye. And a devilish grin on his face. Earnhardt pushed and shoved his way into Nascar superstardom. His highly agrressive driving style made him a fan favorite. Which is how he earned his nicknames, old ironhead, the man in black, and of course the most famous of all, “The Intimidator”. The words to the song Freebird, ‘If I leave her tommorrow, will you still remember me” Somes up his racing accomplishments.


7 Winston Cup Championships (‘80, ‘86, ‘87, ‘90, ‘91, ‘93, 94)


4 Time Iroc Champion ( ‘90, ‘95, ‘99, ‘00)


76 Race Wins


Rookie of the Year (1979)


The only driver to win Rookie of the year and the Winston Cup championship in successive years. ( ‘79, ‘80)


Ranks 2nd on Nascar’s 50 greatest drivers list.


2002 Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee


2006 International Motorsports Hall of fame Inductee


6 Time Bud Shootout Winner


Earnhardt was one of the sports most controversial drivers as well as one of the most skilled. He made many friends on the track as well as many enemies. His rough style of driving, was always the center on controversy whenever he took to the track. Most drivers even said that he had no respect for his fellow driver. But yet his driving skills were never doubted. Earnhardt was the bully on the track. As well as the most fierce. His determination and desire to be the best was like that of a roaring lion.


Daytona as we all know. Was Earnhardts biggest challenge that he ever faced during his 22 year Winston Cup span. In 1987, The Intimidator visited victory lane an astounding 11 times. On his way to his 2nd Winston Cup championship. This would be the first of 3 times that he would win back to back Cup titles. He also set a modern day of 4 consecutive wins, while starting off the season winning 5 of the first 7 races. But that magical win at Daytona still eluded him. Even with his aggressive style of driving. Controversy continued to follow him him wherever he raced. Some drivers even saying that he would wreck you if he couldn’t get around you.


Daytona 1990. Earnhardt leading on the last lap. He could taste and feel his first Daytona victory. The checkered flag was within site. Fans were standing on there feet. Thinking that they were finally gonna see him do it. Waiting for there hero to cross the finish line. Coming out of 3 into 4. But just as he was about to finally make history. he cut a tire giving the win to Derrick Cope. The man in black. Definetly had a black cloud over him, whenever the month of February came around. He had already proven that he could race the short tracks, as well as the superspeedways. Dale had the skills as well as the desire. At the track where Jr Johnson had discovered the draft. Earnhardt took it a step further and not only mastered it. But in his own way, he also perfected it. Earning him the title of, “King of restrictor plate racing”. But still his dream of winning slipped away from him like a nightmare. The beast was untamable.


1993 once again seen Earnhardt dominate speedweeks. Only to see him finish 2nd behind Dale Jarrett on a last lap pass.Earnhardt would go on to win his 6th championship that same year. Life was good to Earnhardt. But Daytona was still only a dream. 1994 would see Earnhardt accomplish what many felt couldn’t be done. And that is not only win his 7th championship. But also his 3rd set of back to back championships. But still. The black asphalt beast would continue to deny him.


1998. A beautiful Sunday morning. The fans were all getting ready for the 40th running of the Great American race. Also on this day was Nascar’s 50th annivesary. Earnhardt’s dream would finally come true. He would finally get the win that was so close, but yet so far. Earnhardt would finally be a Daytona champion. As he came down pit road on his way to victory lane. All of the teams lined pit road to high five the man who was most deserving of the win. The man who at times maybe even frustrated there driver. But they were there to show there respect to the most hated as well as the most loved.


Earnhardt had many last lap heroics, as well as many last lap dissapointments. But who can forget his last lap heroics of the year 2000. This would be the last win of his illustrious career. The track was Talladega. With 4 laps to go. What was the king of restrictor plate racing doing sitting in 17th place? Earnhardt darted and dashed. He sliced and diced his way all the way to the front. In an awesome display of driving. He schooled the other 42 drivers to take the win. Never knowing that this would be the last win of his career. This was a win that most drivers can only dream of. But we all knew that Earnhardt, was a driver who was destined to make his dreams come true.


February 18 2001. Earnhardt would buckle himself into his race car. Something that he did over 700 times in his career. Looking so happy knowing that his son was also in the field. Dale’s life had really taken a turn for the better. The Intimadator was ready to make history. But not the kind that Im sure he wanted. With Theresa also not realizing, that this would be the last of there customary kisses before each race. Her life to would be changed forever, before the end of the day. The green flag waved. The 43rd running of the Great American race. A race that would change history forever. The biggest audience to ever see a Nascar race. Would also witness the biggest blow to modern day sports heroes.


Who could ever forget the words of Mike Helton. “This has to be one of the toughest announcements that I have personally had to make. After the accident in turn 4 of the Daytona 500. We have lost Dale Earnhardt”. He was gone in the twinkling of an eye doing what he loved best. Driving a race car. Daytona had taken the sports biggest hero. On the first race of what was to be the beginning of Nascar finally making it to the National spotlight. We all waited for him to walk away. To wave to the crowd that he was alright. But to the shock of all who witnessed it, this was one, that not even The Intimadator, The Man in Black would survive. I guess God had better plans for him, or maybe he just wanted Dale all to Himself. Dale would go down as one of Daytona’s biggest heroes.


His infamous black and red paint sceme with the white number 3. Is still to this day. One of the most famous cars in all of Nascar history. We all have our special moments, that in our own way we have cherished in our hearts. Dale Earnhardt Sr. left behind a long legacy of racing memories. Some were good. As well as some were bad. But whatever they were. They were what champions are made of. Thanks for the many memories. But most of all. We remember the words to Freebird. “If I leave here tommorrow. Will you still remember me”. How can we not remember our hero. The legacy continues. The legacy that is. Dale Earnhardt Sr. Im Out

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4/29/08   |   StuckOnRacin247

Wonderful blog!  It's still hard to believe that everyone's hero is still gone.   But he's still here with us, at every race, every turn, every pit stop, every victory.

 

Happy 57th Birthday Dale!