Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt was laid to rest in a private ceremony north of Charlotte, NC, earlier today. Only immediate family, including his son, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., attended the ceremony. A public ...
Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt was laid to rest in a private ceremony north of Charlotte, NC, earlier today. Only immediate family, including his son, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., attended the ceremony.
A public memorial ceremony is planned on Thursday for Earnhardt, who was killed at the final turn of Sunday's Daytona 500. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Fox SportsNet.
Earnhardt, 49, finished just 65 points shy of an unprecendented eighth championship in 2000, and was in third place on the final lap of this year's opening race, when his fate took a fatal turn. His Chevrolet hit the wall heavily head-on, and the champion succumbed to a basal skull fracture.
Earnhardt's car, run by Richard Childress Racing (RCR), will be taken over by Kevin Harvick, who finished in third place last year in NASCAR's second-tier Busch Grand National series. Harvick's car will carry Earnhardt's traditional number 3, but will not be painted in the traditional Earnhardt black.
His own team, which includes drivers Dale Jr., Steve Park and Daytona winner Michael Waltrip, will be wearing an additional decal in memory of the NASCAR legend, created with the approval of RCR and Earnhardt's widow, Teresa. The cars will not, however, contrary to rumors, be painted black for the race.
However, there is support amongst the NASCAR community to retire Earnhardt's number permanently from the series, something that NASCAR has never yet done for any past champion. "I know it is not something that NASCAR typically does, but nobody will ever be able to fill the shoes that drove that car," said Tommy Baldwin, Earnhardt's crew chief.