ESPN to air E60 documentary on Dale Earnhardt, 20 years after his death

Dale Earnhardt. Image credit: Wikipedia
Dale Earnhardt. Image credit: Wikipedia
Ted Fleming

New ESPN E60 documentary to explore the legend and legacy of Dale Earnhardt

When Dale Earnhardt was killed at the end of the 2001 Daytona 500, NASCAR lost one of its biggest stars. Some would argue he was the star of stock car racing. He was 49 at the time of his death and likely making plans to step away and become a full-time owner of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI), but he never got the chance.

Every year about this time, his name comes up with reverence, even in casual conversations. Known as The Intimidator, he likely would have taken on a different moniker in retirement, but Richard Petty already owned The King.

Graphic courtesy of ESPN
Graphic courtesy of ESPN

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Earnhardt’s passing, and ESPN will remember the legend and legacy in a one-hour documentary, E60 Presents - Intimidator: The Lasting Legacy of Dale Earnhardt. Unlike the 2004 made-for-television movie, 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story that was actor-portrayed (starring Barry Pepper), the E60 piece includes interviews, including a revealing interview with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The program was produced by Scott Cikowski, Jason Kostura and John Minton.

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Others interviewed for the documentary include:

  • Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
  • NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, who survived a spectacular crash in last year’s Daytona 500.
  • Former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty.
  • Dr. Steve Bohannon, trauma physician who was one of the first to reach Earnhardt’s wrecked car.
  • Mike Helton, NASCAR Vice Chairman, who announced Earnhardt’s death.
  • Steve Phelps, NASCAR President.
  • Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President Chief Racing Development Officer.
  • John Patalak - NASCAR Senior Director of Safety Engineering.
  • Mike Massaro, former ESPN reporter who covered 2001 Daytona 500.

Sterling Marlin was not mentioned as being interviewed at the time of the ESPN release. Fans blamed him for Earnhardt’s death, sending him hate mail and death threats.

You might also like: How Kevin Harvick finally stepped out of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt's shadow

Dale Jr. told his fans that Marlin and his dad were good friends and to not hold him responsible for what happened, while Michael Waltrip, who won that fateful race for DEI in 2001, asked everyone to keep Marlin in their prayers and that he didn't do anything wrong.

ESPN senior writer Ryan McGee, who has covered NASCAR for more than 25 years, is the reporter for the story. There will also be a four-part series written by McGee for, beginning Tuesday and running on consecutive days through Friday. McGee will also be a guest on the ESPN Daily Podcast on Friday, Feb. 12.

Sportskeeda published a story on Feb. 3 that previewed the anniversary: NASCAR prepares to remember Dale Earnhardt 20 years after death in Daytona 500.

Edited by Sandeep Banerjee

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