Dale Earnhardt Best Moments: The Intimidator’s Most Memorable Times

by Chase Thomas
(Photo by ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt was a legend in NASCAR. That much is obvious. However, Earnhardt was not only a legend on the track but off it as well. Indeed, Earnhardt never failed to deliver some classic one-liners over the course of his career. Perhaps his biggest was “Second place is just the first loser.” Another was, “It’s a never-ending battle of making your car better and also trying to be better yourself.”

The Best Moments of Dale Earnhardt

  • Dale Earnhardt wins at Bristol in 1979
  • Dale Snaps a two-year winless streak in 1982
  • Earnhardt unveils new color scheme with Goodwrench in 1988
  • Dale pulls off the “Pass in the Grass,” roaring past Bill Elliott in epic fashion
  • Dale wins the Daytona 500 for the first time in 1998

Earnhardt imparted all sorts of wisdom for the drivers of tomorrow, but also fans of the sport who were looking to learn something. If you listened to Dale Earnhardt, chances are you would learn something. You would learn what it really means to compete as an athlete. Earnhardt had a driver and determination that drove him to the tremendous success that spanned multiple decades in NASCAR. It was no surprise he got his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory as a rookie. It was all the way back in 1978.

Here are just a few of Earnhardt’s biggest moments throughout his career.

1979: Dale Earnhardt Wins at Bristol

Back then, Earnhardt was driving a different paint scheme and a different number altogether. On that day in Bristol, Earnhardt was No. 2 with a yellow and blue paint scheme.

1982: Dale Ends Two-Year Winless Streak

You might not remember it, but there was a time early in Dale’s career when the wins did not always come. Sometimes, your greatest moment comes in moments of adversity. That is what Dale faced when he went nearly two years without a victory after his early success. However, he got his first win driving a Ford in 1982 when he won the Rebel 500.

1988: Goodwrench Begins Sponsoring Dale Earnhardt

Up to this point, folks knew Earnhardt from the yellow and blue paint scheme. It was the color and look for his first victory in the sport. It’s what folks recognized. However, in 1988 he made a drastic change. His new sponsor was Goodwrench which would result in the black paint scheme that so many folks recognize today. That look turned out to be a huge branding win for Earnhardt and the team.

The look worked out, as Earnhardt finished second in the chase for the cup that season. He finished just behind Rusty Wallace for the championship that year.

1987: That Time Dale Earnhardt Passed Bill Elliott

Few will forget the time Earnhardt sped past Bill Elliott in the No. 9 Coors car in The Winston. Back when the NASCAR All-Star race was called that, Earnhardt stole the show. In 1987, the star driver went into the grass to pass and keep Elliott at bay. It was a heated, difficult race, but it was a moment the announcers and those watching at home could not believe.

1998: Dale Wins Daytona 500

Not every driver wins the Daytona 500. Most don’t. It’s the most memorable, but it is also one of the most difficult races to win. As successful as Dale was all those years, he still had not won at Daytona. That all changed in 1998 when he won the big one.

There are so many races over the course of Earnhardt’s incredible run. He was one of a kind.