Heart of a Champion

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27949d4df53c4f022d5af0b85fe90e04.image.550x353.jpg

Heart of a Champion

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Heart of a Champion 
Dale Earnhardt

The 40th annual Daytona 500, the granddaddy of the NASCAR circuit, was no Sunday drive. For one thing, Daytona had eluded Dale Earnhardt in 19 previous tries. Much to his chagrin, the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champ and leading money winner of all time, had come up short, a tough pill to swallow for a man who declared before the race that ”patience” would surely win. But this time out on Florida’s famous track, the man known as the “Intimidator” was destined to relieve his history of frustration. As the race began its final lap under a yellow flag, Earnhardt, driving his legendary #3 car, had to brave two onslaughts by Bobby Labonte (#18) and Jeremy Mayfield (#12) to bring home the evasive trophy. Labonte tried to run past Earnhardt on the high side, but Earnhardt would have none of that. Mayfield went low on the inside lane around Earnhardt, but Dale pushed him in and behind the yellow car (#75) to assure the victory. Superimposed on this brilliant rendering from America’s Sports Artist Rick Rush, are three poignant moments from Daytona: Earnhardt’s unforgettable victory drive by a jubilant and congratulatory pit-crew, his subsequent wheely-produced “3” on the grass infield, and a glimpse into the past of this storied race 40 year ago when Lee Petty, father of Richard Petty, basked in the glory as the race’s inaugural winner.