For a driver that had accomplished it all, the Harley J. Earl Trophy DAYTONA 500 Trophy was the only major accolade that had eluded The Intimidator. After two decades of several close calls and bitter disappointments, due to mechanical problems and other issues, Earnhardt finally found redemption along the famous tri-oval leading 107 laps, including the final 61, to win the 1998 DAYTONA 500.
Perhaps the most memorable moment came shortly following the race as, in a display unprecedented in motorsports, every person on every crew came out to the edge of pit lane to personally congratulate the victorious driver. He capped off the historic day with a drive onto the grass, spinning his car in front of a roaring crowd along the frontstretch.
What They Said:
Dale Earnhardt Sr.: "The Daytona 500 is ours. We won it, we won it, we won it!"
Commentator Mike Joy: "20 years of trying, 20 years of frustration, Dale Earnhardt will come to the caution flag to win the Daytona 500, finally!”
Earnhardt Sr.’s Crew Chief Larry McReynolds: "Dale was like a kid at Christmas, and there was a time where I just wanted to sit back and just watch him"
Commentator Mike Joy: "Look, out on pit road! Every man on every crew has come out to the edge of pit lane to congratulate the man who has dominated everything there is to win in this sport, except this race; until today.”