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What Were Dale Earnhardt’s Last Words?

What were Dale Earnhardt’s last words? The story behind the legend.


When it comes to US stock racing, there are not many people more important to the industry than Dale Earnhardt.

The legendary driver and team owner enjoyed a prolific career in NASCAR.

Driving the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, he was a legendary driver and also a wonderful team owner.

Known for being intimidating to other drivers with a rough and ready racing style, Earnhardt truly earned his reputation as ‘The Intimidator.’

Regarded as probably the greatest NASCAR driver of all time, or at least one of the true greats, he was a consistent name in the driver’s seat and on the podium for the majority of his career.

Sadly, his life ended abruptly when he suffered an awful accident during the 2001 Daytona 500.

During this race, he crashed into a retaining wall after he made contact with Sterling Marlin and Ken Schrader.

Dale was pronounced dead shortly after, and his legacy was cut short.

Among many legends about Dale, though, are his supposed final words.

The death of Dale brought about many major changes and safety adjustments to NASCAR racing, but the legend of his final words tends to live on.

So, what were Dale Earnhardt’s last words?

The untimely death of a hero

dale earnhardt last words


It would be fair to say that up until his passing on February 18th, 2001, that Dale Earnhardt was a hero to many.

He was a tremendous driver, an electric personality, and the kind of person who could have a press conference in tears of laughter.

An interesting man and an exciting personality, his death was considered a terrifying moment for the sport.

As many as 17 million people watched that fateful moment take place, and it left a major impact on not only Earnhardt, his family, and the team but the entire sport.

Fans worldwide took him to their hearts, and he went down as one of the true greats of the racing scene.

His death came at a time when he was still a significant name within NASCAR, too, with the promise of more success to come had he not met his untimely end.

Dale Earnhardt’s last words: the prophecy foretold?

Dale Earnhardt Delivered Chillingly Prophetic Words


Among many chilling memories about the death of such a legend, though, was the prophetic nature of his final period in life.

In the weeks and even in the hours leading up to the race, Dale had spoken about death frequently.

Indeed, he even made several comments about his death to Marlin – the very person who would be involved in the crash that saw Earnhardt pass away in the first place.

One of the things that is noted about Earnhardt’s death is how he always came prepared.

According to Marlin, who faced a press barrage in the aftermath of the death, receiving much of the blame, he and Earnhardt spoke about the chances of dying on the track more than once.

After the incident, Marlin defended himself by noting:

“Dale said, ‘If I ever get killed in a race car…I don’t want nobody crying and moaning and groaning… It’s what I love to do, and don’t worry about it,’” Marlin said. “That’s the way Earnhardt was, and when he buckled that seatbelt Sunday, he knew anything could happen.”

The risks that come with driving a vehicle at anything up to 200mph cannot be ignored.

Much like people who take on things like the Isle of Man TT race, the risks are obvious from the moment you step inside that vehicle or hop on that bike.

NASCAR is known as a dangerous sport, and those who are the best at it are also those who are fully at peace with the chance that they might not come out the other side.

Earnhardt very much fit that kind of billing.

He was someone who appreciated the chance to race but also accepted that every race could be his last. Unfortunately, that came true in February 2001.

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Dale Earnhardt’s last words the prophecy


What were Dale Earnhardt’s last words?

So, the legend goes that on the run-up to the race beginning, he told Darrell Waltrip one thing: “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.” That sounds depressing when you factor in that the man died not long after he said those words.

Part of his happiness and contentment, though, was doing what he loved so much.

The Daytona 500 is one of the biggest races in the world, and the fact that this was Fox Sports’ first time getting a chance to broadcast it made this a major moment.

Earnhardt came into the race as one of the favorites, having already won the race in the past and having come 35th overall.

Earnhardt’s final interview came with Fox’s presenter, Matt Yocum, and on that, he talked about the conditions of the fateful race: “A little wind today. A little exciting. I think it’s going to be some exciting racing. You’re gonna see something you probably had never seen on Fox.”

Regretfully, that was to come true in a way that nobody could ever have possibly imagined. However, despite his daredevil streak, it was reported that Earnhardt had told Richard Childress that “if they don’t do something to these cars, it’s going to end up killing somebody” – that somebody, depressingly, was Earnhardt himself.

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In Conclusion

So, the final words of Earnhardt are quite prophetic – he mentioned how happy he was, but also the risks that came with what he did for a living.

Few people are ever quite as lucid and aware of the risks they take as professional rally drivers. But, despite dying doing what made him so happy in life, it is sad that such a fulfilling and happy life was cut short at its peak.

Even today, Dale Earnhardt is one of the most respected and beloved drivers of all time.

His drive, his skill, his willingness to take risks, and his pure love of the sport made him such an easy personality to love.

As his final words showed, he was happy – even when it cost him everything.

RIP Dale.


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