‘Intimidator: The lasting legacy of Dale Earnhardt’ will reflect on the crash that took the life of the biggest star in NASCAR
It’s now 20 years after the death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500.
Now, a four part mini-series will air on ESPN. The documentary features interviews from his son Dale Earnhardt Jr who reflects on the crash and how the sport has changed since.
Earnhardt Jr stated, “He’s dead and been gone for 20 years. The stories, you’ve heard ’em all, right? But maybe you haven’t.”
“When I was a little boy, he was Dad at home and he was Dad at the track,” Earnhardt Jr. recalled. “But then, as I got older and I started to see the Dale Earnhardt in him that everyone else was seeing, right? He was still Dad, but I also was starting to see this icon, and this hero.
“And I would even look at him that way, like fans would look at him. I would be, like, intimidated by him, nervous to be in the room with him and, uh, feel inferior to him, you know and all these unhealthy things, right?”
Earnhardt added, “I’m his son and he just got so big.”
Other show appearances
Ryan Newman is also featured in the series. Newman was involved in a major crash during the 2020 Daytona 500. Days later, he walked out of the hospital, minus his shoes.
Mike Helton offers insights for the docu-series. He’s the former NASCAR President announced the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt on February 18, 2001.
“Someone will ask me, you know, explain to us Dale Earnhardt,” says Mike Helton. “Explaining Dale, that’s like trying to explain John Wayne or Neil Armstrong or other heroes from that era that you can no longer experience.
Helton added, “But you still try to explain it, because there was no one else like him. Never will be.”
7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson makes an appearance in the series. Former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will join the show.
Dr. Steve Bohannon, the trauma physician who was the first to reach Earnhardt’s car on the day of the tragic crash is featured in the show.
Steve Phelps, the current president of NASCAR will have a part in the series. As will Steve O’Donnell, the current Chief Racing Development officer for NASCAR. John Patalak, NASCAR Senior Director of Safety Engineering will provide insight into how safety has evolved since the crash.
Earnhardt dominated superspeedway races. He won 34 times at Daytona and only one of those wins came in the Daytona 500.
The first episode will air at Noon ET on Sunday. The same day as the Daytona 500. The E:60 show will air on ESPN.
Part II of the series will air on Wednesday night.