20 Yrs Ago Today: Dale Earnhardt Sr. Finally Wins Daytona 500

After so many years of trying and wondering if it would ever happen...FINALLY! 

Dale Earnhardt's dream came true 20 years ago today when he won the Daytona 500.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!  Can you believe it? We won.’’  Earnhardt said in Victory Lane.

One of the sport’s greatest drivers had won everything else during Daytona Speedweeks but the sport’s biggest race until Feb. 15, 1998.

No more heartbreaks.  Earnhardt won the “Super Bowl of NASCAR.”

NASCAR might never see another win, another celebration by all those in the sport, as it did two decades ago today when Earnhardt won the 1998 Daytona 500. One of the many memorable moments happened following the race when he drove to Victory Lane. Crew members of several teams lined up to congratulate Earnhardt.

Watch the dramatic final two laps of the 40th Annual Daytona 500 win twenty years ago today plus post race footage including victory lane interviews.


Tragedy would strike three years and a few days later on February 18, 2001, when Earnhardt died during a crash in the last lap of the Daytona 500. It was his 23rd time at the race. Earnhardt’s son, Dale Jr., finished the race in second place, and went on to become a superstar in the racing world like his father. He won his first Daytona 500 in 2004.

NASCAR’s premier series gets its 2018 season officially underway with the 60th Daytona 500 this Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox). The recently retired Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not be in the “Great American Race” for the first time since 1999. 

Now an NBC Sports analyst, the 15-time most popular driver will be the grand marshal for the race he won two times (2004, 2014). Earnhardt will give the command to start engines. Once that is done, the 40-car field will pull off pit road.


Dale Jr. honors his dad and the family's connection to Goodyear in a new commercial that will air during the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

The spot is called "Make a Name" and honors the Earnhardts' long relationship with the tiremaker. 

A.J. Croce, son of Jim Croce, covered his late father's song, "I Got A Name," for the commercial, which depicts a young Earnhardt idolizing his father, growing into his own role as a racer and now shifting in retirement to a job in television.

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