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NASCAR lost a legendary son

The impact of Sunday’s tragic death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt will be felt for generations to come.

Tuesday, February 20, 2001

The impact of Sunday’s tragic death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt will be felt for generations to come.

When Earnhardt crashed into the wall on the final lap of the Daytona 500 – the sport’s most heralded event – nobody imagined it would be the end of the line for "The Intimidator."

One did not have to be a NASCAR fan to appreciate his significance to the sport. To put it into perspective, Earnhardt’s death is comparable to: Michael Jordan passing away in the final minute of the NBA championship game; John Elway suffering a fatal blow in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl; Tiger Woods dying on the last hole of the Masters; Ken Griffey Jr. being killed by a 90-mile-per-hour fastball in the last inning of the final game of the World Series.

Though NASCAR has seen its share of fatal accidents – including those of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin last year – Earnhardt’s will be the one etched in racing fans’ memories for eternity.

The racing world will mourn his passing for quite some time. This year’s Winston Cup Series will surely be a long, grueling season for drivers and fans alike.