On February 18 2001 NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a last-lap crash at the Daytona 500. His car – the No. 3 Chevrolet – was hit from behind by Ken Schrader’s car spinning and hitting the wall head-on. Earnhardt was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The car Earnhardt died in was immediately taken to a research and development center in Michigan for further analysis. NASCAR officials hoped that by understanding the cause of the crash they could prevent future accidents like it.
The car was shredded and cut open and its engine and transmission were removed and placed in a special crash-test rig. The car’s black box was also studied.
After months of investigation NASCAR concluded that Earnhardt’s death was caused by a “perfect storm” of factors. The investigation found that Earnhardt’s seatbelt had come undone that his headrest had come loose and that his helmet had hit the steering wheel causing a fatal injury.
NASCAR made a number of changes in the wake of Earnhardt’s death including mandating the use of head-and-neck restraints for all drivers and making changes to the construction of racecars to make them safer.
The car that Earnhardt died in is now on display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte North Carolina.
What was the cause of Dale Earnhardt’s death?
Earnhardt died as a result of a basilar skull fracture he sustained when his car hit the wall on the final lap of the Daytona 500.
How fast was Earnhardt going when he hit the wall?
Earnhardt was estimated to be going between 160 to 180 miles per hour when he hit the wall.
What part of the car hit the wall?
The right side of Earnhardt’s car hit the wall.
Where did the accident happen?
The accident occurred on the final lap of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Who won the Daytona 500 that year?
Michael Waltrip won the Daytona 500 that year.
What was Earnhardt’s position when he was involved in the accident?
Earnhardt was in 7th place when he was involved in the accident.
Who was leading the race when Earnhardt was involved in the accident?
Sterling Marlin was leading the race when Earnhardt was involved in the accident.
How many laps were remaining in the race when Earnhardt was involved in the accident?
There was only 1 lap remaining in the race when Earnhardt was involved in the accident.
How many caution laps were there in the race?
There were 6 caution laps in the race.
How many Lead changes were there in the race?
There were 29 lead changes in the race.
How many cars were on the lead lap when the race ended?
There were 15 cars on the lead lap when the race ended.
How many cars were in the race?
There were 43 cars in the race.
What was Earnhardt’s average finishing position in the Daytona 500?
Earnhardt’s average finishing position in the Daytona 500 was 16.
What was the lowest position Earnhardt ever finished in the Daytona 500?
Earnhardt’s lowest position ever finished in the Daytona 500 was 42nd in the 1993 race.
In how many Daytona 500 races did Earnhardt compete?
Earnhardt competed in 34 Daytona 500 races.