SBD/February 17, 2011/People and Pop Culture

The Day That Changed NASCAR

Ten years ago, on Feb. 18, 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr. died while driving at the Daytona 500. The impact of his death is still felt by the sport, and today we look back at how SportsBusiness Daily covered the tragedy. These are the original stories from the Feb. 20, 2001, issue, the first to come out after the race. The stories focus on safety concerns at NASCAR, the effect on Earnhardt's marketing and memorabilia, and reaction to Fox's coverage for the race, its first Daytona 500. Read them all by following the links below.

Photo by: Mark Sluder
Earnhardt's death sent shockwaves through the industry.
Some Manufacturing Of Dale Earnhardt Collectibles To Stop
    The Dale Earnhardt "rush is on," according to Paul Newberry of the AP, who reports, "Anything and everything with his name on it became the hottest sports merchandise a day after his death."



Critics Differ On Whether Fox Handled Tragedy Appropriately
    "Earnhardt's death put a heartbreaking final touch on a race that for [a] few fleeting moments was better than anything the network could have scripted for its first Daytona 500 telecast." -- Prentis Rogers, Atlanta Constitution, 2/19



Critics Claim That Fox Finds Its Footing In NASCAR Debut
    Fox "turned in a Super Bowl-worthy effort" for its inaugural broadcast of Sunday's Daytona 500, according to Barry Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS, who wrote that the net "known to push the envelope in its sports productions instead opted for a more conservative approach."



NASCAR Turns To Safety Issues After Death Of Earnhardt
    As the country "mourned the loss" of Dale Earnhardt, the question of driver safety "was once again brought into sharp focus" as a preliminary autopsy showed Earnhardt died Sunday from "blunt force injuries to the head," according to Godwin Kelly of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL.



After Tragedy, Media Calls On NASCAR To Improve Safety
    With four racing deaths in the past year, "critics say NASCAR needs to be as vigilant with safety issues as it is with the competitive ones," according to Aaron Brown in the lead story of ABC's "World News Tonight" on Monday. "Now it is the sport's biggest name who has died and critics wonder if that will be what causes NASCAR to move safety up to the sport's front row."
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