ken schrader dale earnhardt
TaurusEmerald, CC BY-SA 4.0, Darryl Moran, CC BY-SA 2.0

Every fan remembers the day Dale Earnhardt punched his ticket to Heaven, but it’s a little different to hear it from a man with over 750 NASCAR races under his belt – not to mention his decades of experience on all manner of racing surfaces.

Ken Schrader storms Talladega in 2008 | Curtis Palmer via Wikimedia

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Schraeder Remembers #3

Schrader shared a quote on his Facebook page about what happened during Earnhardt’s tragic, baffling death at the Daytona 500 in 2001.

It’s not a fun topic to reminisce about, and yet one almost feels like they owe it to a man who provided us with so many “ooh’s” and “aaah’s”.

Frankly, it’s so haunting I don’t want to type it out, so here it is:

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Chilling, But Also Heartwarming

Now, apparently Mr. Schrader (or his social media intern) can’t type worth a damn, so I will translate what his caption says:

I loved him but he wasn’t much fun to race with! (He whooped everyone’s ass.) He was just like Tony Stewart or AJ Foyt.

That’s some high praise for Tony Stewart and AJ Foyt right there, hoss.

After all, Foyt is a man who won the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Tony Stewart is the only person – ever – to win both IndyCar and NASCAR championships. Talk about being in good company, Mr. Earnhardt! (Though, Stewart and Foyt are as well, considering The Intimidator’s stranglehold on NASCAR fandom!)

Dale’s Death Changed NASCAR

That haunting quote from Ken makes it easy to see why that terrible day in February changed NASCAR safety rules forever. In fact, there hasn’t been a repeat death in three national series since that day.

Among the changes included the addition of the SAFER Barriers, the HANS head and neck restraints that could have saved Dale’s life, and even the cars themselves were upgraded for safety.

Hopefully these changes mean no one will ever be haunted by the aftermath of a deadly crash again.