One bad moment ended the glorious career of motor racing legend Dale Earnhardt (1951-2001). The seven-time Winston Cup champion hit the wall nearly head-on with his black #3 Goodwrench Chevrolet in the final turn of the last lap of the 43rd Daytona 500.
"You win some, you lose some, and you wreck some," he once said. "It is not a sport for the faint of heart."
The Intimidator, nicknamed for his rugged driving and competitive spirit, was born Ralph Dale Earnhardt in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The son of a stock car racer, Earnhardt grew up with racing in his blood, competing locally as a teen, then joining the NASCAR circuit. He was Rookie of the Year and didn't stop winning, tying another legend, Richard Petty, for most career titles.
Earnhardt liked to win, pushed it to the limit, and never gave an inch. He explained, "I want to give more than 100 percent every race, and if that's aggressive, then I reckon I am."
Considered by many to be the sports reigning king, Dale was either passionately loved or hated by fans and respected by fellow drivers. "God only created one Dale Earnhardt," said driver Rusty Wallace. "And no one will ever replace him, neither in our sport or in our hearts."
In a USA Today tribute shortly after his death, Earnhardt's wife, Teresa wrote, "Remember the man who loved life. He was the happiest person I know, and that can comfort us all."
Remember the good moments.