Dale Earnhardt was one of the most prolific racers that have ever existed for NASCAR. Not only did he get his son involved in racing himself, but Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were also both competing in NASCAR races at the same time. In 2001, Earnhardt Sr. was competing in the Daytona 500 when his No. 3 Goodwrench Chevrolet crashed, and he passed away. One can’t help but think that the driver did a lot for the industry before he passed.
After Earnhardt’s passing, NASCAR had to announce who won the race where Earnhardt met his demise. The industry was so affected and saddened by the outcome of that race that they announced the winner in a somber fashion. While it is dangerous to be a driver for NASCAR, the industry knew that they didn’t want to have any more fatalities on the track. Although safety equipment can be restrictive, removing the ability for us to comfortably move around like we normally would, they are a crucial part of staying safe and staying alive. Below are the ways that Earnhardt changed NASCAR and the racing industry indefinitely.
One way the driver changed the industry is by having NASCAR implement the HANS device implemented in a driver’s equipment. This device protects the head and neck of drivers while they are out racing. This device keeps drivers safe by enabling a protective element preventing a driver’s head and back from snapping while driving under stressful conditions. Although this device was around during Earnhardt’s time, he believed that he wasn’t about to perform at his best while using restrictive equipment. The driver claimed that this particular device was like driving with a noose on. It wasn’t until after he passed away that the device soared in popularity.
Due to his death, NASCAR has implemented SAFER barriers, also known as Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers. Before these barriers were introduced to the game, driver crashes were known for being much more dangerous. Due to Earnhardt’s success and passing, NASCAR decided these barriers are a crucial part of a driver’s well being. By 2006 racetracks all over the country were implementing these barriers.