Daytona International Speedway has hosted the Daytona 500 since 1959. The beach-based 2.5 tri-oval Speedway provide enough room for speed and fans don’t expect anything less than high-speed that awakens their adrenaline. However, despite the fun of the high-speed cars, Daytona 500 has seen numerous drivers lose their lives while others end up with frightening injuries.
Daytona 500 well known as the stock car super bowl is considered the most valued race in NASCAR and drivers give their all trying to secure the trophy or defend the trophy. Even though NASCAR has enhanced safety measures for drivers, in 2020 Ryan Newman escaped one of the most astonishing crashes in the Daytona 500. Luckily for him, he was able to recover but he has never made his full-time return since that day. So, who are the drivers that were never lucky to see another Daytona 500?
Daytona 500 Death Record: NASCAR Drivers Who Have Lost Their Lives At Daytona.
Neil Bonnett (1994)
Neil was the first driver to lose his life in the hunt for the Daytona 500 in 1994. Bonnett was an established racer who gained popularity in the 1990s. In his 18-year career, he won 18 races and 20 poles, he also had a solid career in Television making numerous appearances as a commentator for CBS, TBS, and TNN. His career was cut short in 1994 a the Daytona International Speedway during a practice session.
Bonnett experienced a mechanical failure that led to him losing control of his Chevrolet on the track’s high-banked fourth turn. Following the failure, his car kissed the track apron before crashing into the wall. Bonnett never made it alive and that’s how a legend left the racing scene earlier than expected.
Rodney Orr (1994)
Orr won the 1993 NASCAR Goody’s Dash and he was ready to kick off the 1994 season with a solid start only to end up being killed in the practice session of the 1994 Daytona 500. During the incident, he spun entering turn two and went on to slam the outside wall and he died on the spot.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. (2001)
Dale Earnhardt, Sr’s death was one of the most unfortunate deaths in NASCAR history. Dale was killed in the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 on February 18th, 2001. Dale was among the stars at the time and he was holding the Daytona 500 twice and he was hunting for his third title. During the tragic crash, Dale’s Chevrolet made contact with Marlin’s front guard before sliding up the bank. He died on the spot but was announced dead at Halifax Medical Center, the death was caused by Basir Skull Fracture. Since his death Dale is still among the three drivers to ever win the Championships more than five times.