Today, and every day, we remember The Intimidator. pic.twitter.com/lKfJq0ftx1— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 18, 2018
On Feb. 18, 2001, Earnhardt was killed in a three-car crash on the final lap of the race, where he collided with Ken Schrader after making contact with Sterling Marlin. The 49-year-old hit the outside wall head-on and died shortly after he was taken to the hospital.
Autopsy reports shortly after concluded Earnhardt died instantly of blunt force trauma to the head and sustained a fatal basilar skull fracture.
With the Daytona 500 airing Sunday, it is somewhat symbolic for the fans as they honor the legend, who not only died on this day, but won 20 years ago at the 500 in 1998. NASCAR paid tribute to the racecar “Intimidator” and welcomed tributes from fans on social media.
Yes always and forevermore! We will never forget about The Intimidator ever! We all love and miss you so much DALE SR! I wish you were still here 😭! Greatest Racer Ever 💗🏁!— Tiffany Havens (@Tiffany530811) February 18, 2018
Had the pleasure of meeting him many years ago. He was such a class act. Nascar hasn't been the same since that day.— Kyle Gilbert (@kgilbert0980) February 18, 2018
RIP Sr! You are the g.o.a.t! Thank you what you did for the sport, you made people fall in love with it and made people always believe!! #DAYTONA500— ms. vicky (@ramsouer) February 18, 2018
You’ve been remembered since the day you went away. I’ll always love you but your son has done good walking in your footsteps then leaning on his own. Missing you forever, friend.— Peggy Driscoll (@PeggyDriscoll6) February 18, 2018
On this day in 2001 the good Lord called the "the intimidator" God bless you Dale you will always be the best 😓😇 pic.twitter.com/f0lUs53t3D— Patty Hake (@HakePatty) February 18, 2018
Just like Dale Jr he will always be in our mind through the years one of the greatest drivers of all times— Darlene (@fgb505) February 18, 2018
Earnhardt Sr.’s son, Dale Jr. also paid tribute by taking to social media with a message about his late father ahead of serving as Grand Marshal, wearing one of the more fitting t-shirts to ring in the game.
“Feeling real good about my grand marshal t-shirt choice today,” he wrote.
With messages flooding in for Dale Jr. from fans of his late father, he also took time to address how he felt about today coinciding with the Daytona 500 once again.
“Honesty I don’t even think about it when the anniversary of dads (sic) passing comes annually. He lived so hard and fast,” Dale Jr. wrote. “His life was so grand, the date never registers with me for some reason. But I see the comments in my timeline and they are appreciated.”
Honesty I don’t even think about it when the anniversary of dads passing comes annually. He lived so hard and fast. His life was so grand, the date never registers with me for some reason. But I see the comments in my timeline and they are appreciated. #LegendsNEVERDie— Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) February 18, 2018
Dale Jr. concluded his message with the hashtag, “Legends never die.”