CHARLOTTE, N.C. — February 18, 2001, is a day NASCAR fans will never forget. Racing legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. was running third on the final lap of the Daytona 500 when he crashed head on into the outside wall.
Officials believe the seven-time champion died instantly. Earnhardt was 49.
Throughout the 2001 season, fans held up three fingers on Lap 3 of every race to honor the late driver known as The Intimidator.
Twenty years later, the tradition returned as fans held up three fingers on Lap 3 of the 2021 Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Since Earnhardt’s death, NASCAR has made numerous safety improvements, including mandating head-and-neck restraints and tracks installing softer crash walls.
On the 20th anniversary of the icon’s death, family and fans honored Earnhardt on social media: