Add this to the list of what made Dale Earnhardt Sr. such a legend. Among the legendary race car driver’s most iconic moments includes this scenario during the 1997 Daytona 500.
Earnhardt had wrecked his car and was taken into the ambulance, but then he proceeded to jump back into his crashed stock car to finish the race, despite people thinking he was out. This is something you’ve got to see to believe.
Earnhardt had sat in second place during the race, with Jeff Gordon right behind him. As they came down the backstretch, Gordon decided to make a move, and the change in airflow pushed Earnhardt a little wide, causing him to bump off the wall. The driver behind him wasn’t able to check up quickly enough, resulting in Earnhardt spinning and flipping on his roof, before landing back on the wheels. The car appeared to be toast, and we see video of him hopping out of the race car and stepping into the ambulance.
While many assumed he was out of the race, we then see Earnhardt hopping back out of the ambulance to jump back into the race car. Before anyone knew what was going on, the No. 3 Chevy was headed back down pit road. The pit crew scrambles to tape up the torn-up car, even going as far as jerry rigging the decklid back in place so that the car could have a spoiler. It didn’t appear that the car was going to make it very far, but Earnhardt amazingly ended up finishing the race after this.
Gordon may have gone on to grab the win in the inaugural Cup Series race, but Earnhardt completing it after that crazy wreck was impressive in itself. No other driver did things like this, and it was these types of actions that truly set Earnhardt apart from the competition. The man didn’t achieve legendary status for nothing.