February's Deep Dive into History: Remembering Dale Earnhardt Sr.

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Friday, Feb 18 2022 by

On February 18, 2001, living legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. was in the final lap of the famous Daytona 500 race, when he was involved in a three-car collision. He hit another car, and then hit the wall at about 150 miles per hour. He was pronounced dead that afternoon, and racing fans will never forget Black Sunday, or the racing hero that is Dale Earnhardt.

Let’s take a look back at Dale’s life, career, and family.

Former Residence, Mooresville, NC

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was born into a family who loved racing. His dad was one of the best short-track racers, and when Dale was 12, he secretly used his dad’s car to compete in a race, and nearly won! His talent was readily apparent from an early age, and Dale dropped out of school to pursue his dream career.

His hard work and undeniable talent worked in his favor, and he quickly began winning races. He was so successful that he earned more than $70 million, much of it coming from endorsements and advertising deals.

He had some nice luxuries, including a helicopter and two airplanes, a yacht, and a gorgeous mansion in Moorseville, North Carolina. Before his death, he lived here with his wife Teresa and his four kids.

On his death, his properties transferred to Teresa.

Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s House (former) (Birds Eye)
Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s House (former)

Grave Site, Moorseville, NC

Dale was only 49 when he passed away on February 18. The early and untimely death shook the racing world, and it also shocked his family. The world mourned the loss of “The Man in Black” and paid tribute through gatherings and memorials at important racing places.

However, he was a family man, and private in many ways. His family decided to hold a private service and inter his body on his estate. This way, his final resting place would not become a shrine to racing or the legend, but a private and peaceful place for his family to remember Dale.

Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s Gravesite (Google Maps)
Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s Gravesite

Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, FL

Since 1959, Daytona International Speedway has been home to the most prestigious NASCAR race, as well as several other types of racing events. The track is 2.5 miles, and drivers navigate the turns for about 3.5 hours during the Daytona 500.

On that fateful February day, Dale was racing with his son, Dale Jr., on the same team. Junior was in second place, and Senior was in third. However, exiting the fourth turn on the final lap, Dale Sr. clipped a car, was hit by another, and crashed into the wall. While it wasn’t immediately confirmed that he was dead, Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed away at the scene of the accident from multiple serious injuries.

Right after the crash, Dale Earnhardt Jr. came in second at the Daytona 500, a moment the new driver should have been able to enjoy, but was forever tarnished with the death of his father.

Daytona International Speedway (Google Maps)
Daytona International Speedway

Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and the “Garage Mahal”, Mooresville, NC

Dale was an entrepreneur as well as a racer, and he founded his own racing company, called Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in Mooresville. The large glass and granite building is still headquarters for the businesses he founded, as well as home to a Dale Earnhardt museum.

The museum has a 6,000 square foot showroom that includes several of his racing cars, trophies, and other cool memorabilia about the racing legend. Even when Dale was alive it was nicknamed the Garage Mahal for its impressive size.

While the museum is closed these days, it’s a great place to put on the list for when it opens again!

Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (Birds Eye)
Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Home, Mooresville, NC

Dale had four children, and they are all involved in racing one way or another. But his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. certainly carries the mantle of the Earnhardt name and has moved his dad’s legacy forward.

Dale was on the track when his dad died, which has clearly stuck with him as a driver. But it hasn’t held him back. In fact, Daytona seems to hold a special place for Number 8, having won the race twice. He is one of NASCAR’s most popular racers, and still draws fans and support in his fifth year of “semi” retirement.

Jr. has amassed a fortune well north of $400 million from racing and endorsements! But he still maintains his primary residence near where he grew up, and close to family.

Called “Dirty Mo Acres” the property includes 200 acres, has a replica of the town where his dad grew up, a go kart track, and a huge working garage for his race cars.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s House (Bing Maps)
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s House

Dale Earnhardt Plaza, Kannapolis, NC

Dale has no doubt left a major impact on racing. He was the fourth driver to die within a short time, but after his shocking, televised, death, racing was forced to address driver safety aggressively. Several changes were made that have saved many lives, and people take safety more seriously.

Additionally, his persona, and family legacy, are still remembered with fondness. Even people who aren’t diehard NASCAR fans know about The Intimidator.

He was born and lived in the heart of NASCAR: North Carolina. His hometown of Kannapolis has embraced his legacy, even naming locations such as the Dale Earnhardt Plaza after the town’s most famous hero.

Dale Earnhardt Plaza (Birds Eye)
Dale Earnhardt Plaza

On this day, let’s raise three fingers high for Dale, and think about good old Number 3, a man who will never be forgotten.