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Top 5 Dale Earnhardt Moments of All Time

This blog is dedicated to one of the most bad ass race car drivers of all time. A guy that race car drivers across the globe will always try to be, but probably will never have the balls to be. A guy who came into NASCAR in the mid 1970's and grew an almost cult following of dudes with mustaches, mullets, and eventually number 3 tattoos.

In his NASCAR Cup series career, Dale reached the mark of 76 wins, 428 top tens, and 7 Championships. He was an absolute legend on the track, but was unfortunately taken from us February 18th, 2001, exactly 20 years ago today.

My conscience won't allow me to write this blog without first pointing out that growing up, I rooted against Dale Earnhardt. I have always been an underdog guy, and have always rooted for the driver (or team) that not many people around me liked, or cheered for. Earnhardt had an enormous following. One of my first memories was when I was somewhere around 7-8 years old. That year, my family went to Martinsville for the Goody's 500. I don't remember anything from the trip except for when Dale was announced, it was the loudest noise that I had ever heard. Between the booing, and cheering, everyone at that track was making noise. Which brings me to my favorite Dale Earnhardt quote that I have taken with me in racing, and in life;

"Whether they are booing, or cheering. As long as they're making noise, you're doing something right."

Quickly before I jump into my top five favorite Earnhardt moments, I would like to tell the story of when my mind shifted from despising Dale, to respecting Dale. Sadly, my first ounce of respect came for Dale on the day of the Daytona 500 in 2001. I will make this as short as possible, my Mom and Dad had a party for the race at their house that year. When Earnhardt had his crash on the last lap, it was just another crash to all of us. We watched a few driver interviews and then decided to watch "Erin Brockovich" as a family (absolutely terrible movie. 0.0 stars). As a 13 year old, I was just enjoying hanging out with my uncles and the rest of my family, probably wrestling with cousins and seeing how many curse words we could slip in without getting yelled at.

When the announcement came across the screen that Earnhardt's wreck had taken his life, one of my uncles, who was a huge fan of the #3, started to cry. This was the first time I had seen a grown man cry in person, let alone someone that I loved. All I can remember was thinking to myself "Holy shit. This just got real."

After a somber evening of crying, and story telling, I gained an all new and colossal respect for the "Intimidator". As I listen to Dale Jr.'s podcast, and watch videos, my respect only continues to grow.

Here are MY top five favorite Dale Earnhardt Moments

This list is going to be very different than what most would think. This isn't going to be a list of Dale's greatest wins, losses, or moments. This is MY list, someone who hated this man until he died, someone who has grown up a race car driver and always dreamed of spinning Dale out for a win, and someone who is still learning how to respect Earnhardt as time goes on. So with that being said, turn your expectations off, and enjoy.

#5- Dale Jr. wins at NASCAR's first trip back to Daytona in July of 2001

If you are thinking, "What a jackass, the #5 moment happened when Dale Sr. wasn't around anymore.", I get it. But hear me out, I admit that I couldn't stand Dale Earnhardt Sr., however, I have always been a fan of his son.

In 2001, 5 months after losing his Dad at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to make the trek back to Daytona to race over the Fourth of July weekend. Let me add, he had been having a terrible season since his father passed away and had been noticeably disconnected from racing, which was understandable.

Anyways, if you were watching this race in July of 2001, and didn't have tears in your eyes when Dale Jr. won this race, than you must be cold as ice, or one of those closet crying pussies who tend to blame emotions on getting dirt in your eye or cutting onions. It was a moment that all of NASCAR needed.

#4- Texas 2000, Dale Jr's first Cup win

Okay, so I know that I earlier stated that I didn't gain respect for Dale Earnhardt until after he passed away, but the moment at number 4 is probably what made me start recognizing him as an actual human, and not some comic book villain.

When Dale Jr. won his first ever cup race at Texas in the year 2000, no one was happier for him than his Dad, Dale Sr. This is the first time I can remember seeing that huge ass genuine smile under that iconic caterpillar mustache, and I must say, it looked pretty good on the Intimidator.

#3- The 1997 Daytona 500

Just look at the picture above! We've seen worse crashes in NASCAR, superspeedway racing seems to be a product of more and more spectacular crashes every year. We have seen harder hits, bigger air time, and more barrel rolls too. What makes Dale Earnhardt's #3 greatest moment for me is the fact that he drove away from this wreck (Yes, in that same car in the above picture), and he finished the race.

I don't remember this happening, but I have seen the video. For anyone who is reading this that hasn't, I will link the video HERE, watch it! For anyone, who doesn't have 4 minutes of time to watch the video, here is the short version of the story. Earnhardt, gets loose on the backstretch, spins across Dale Jarrett's nose, gets airborne, lands upside down on his roof, and then slides for what seemed like a country mile. When the car comes to a stop, safety personal and track crew members arrive on the scene. They get Earnhardt out of the car, and as they are looking at the car, he walks around it, realizing that all 4 tires are "up" (meaning they still had air), he straps back in and continues on. What a fucking legend!!! I mean can you imagine being upside down at 200 mph, rolling the car back over and thinking to yourself, "Hey I can get back out there and finish 31st?" I didn't think so.

#2- Pushing and Blocking for Michael Waltrip to win the Daytona 500 in 2001

Here's a moment that I didn't know I loved about Dale Earnhardt until many years, books, and documentaries later. Like I said before, the crash that ended his life, looked like every superspeedway crash that I had ever seen before. Now as a grown ass man (FLEX), I look at this accident as a time stamp in history, an iconic moment, a moment that changed NASCAR safety forever, and a moment that Dale Earnhardt was racing for someone other than himself.

At this point in his long illustrious career, Dale Earnhardt had become a successful car owner. He owned a three-car operation, and at the time of his life ending crash, two of his cars were in front of him (he was in third) racing for the win. As many will forget, Michael Waltrip won the 2001 Daytona 500 with Dale Earnhardt Jr coming in second. Dale Earnhardt, the Intimidator, mister selfish, lost his life because he was blocking for one of his best friends and his son to win the Daytona 500. Wow. Even as I'm writing this blog, the guilt washes over me for as many times as I called this dude an asshole under my breath.

#1- Dale Sr wins the 1998 Daytona 500

It was well known throughout the NASCAR following that the ONLY thing that Dale Earnhardt hadn't accomplished in his career was getting that ever so prestigious Daytona 500 victory. In 1998 he finally got the job done and man, was it a sight to see. After crossing the finish line, I'm not shitting you, every single person in the NASCAR garage that day came onto pit road, just to pay their respects for Dale with a high five. It was by far one of the coolest moments in NASCAR history and it easily stands at the top of my list of favorite Dale Earnhardt moments.

I appreciate each and everyone of you that has been reading my blogs so far. Please whether you hate them, hate me, enjoy the blogs, or love me, tell someone about them. This is something that I love to do and I look forward to bringing more and more content to this page as soon a I can.

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