#6 Dale Earnhardt’s Crash At Talladega in 1996
The 1996 DieHard 500 was the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of a crash that forever changed the face of NASCAR. On Lap 118 Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Sterling Martin flipped head-on into a tri-oval wall at speeds near 200 MPH with Earnhardt taking a hit to the roof and another hit from Derrike Cope’s car. Although Earnhardt suffered a broken collarbone and sternum in the crash, in true Earnhardt spirit he walked away from the crash and even waved to the crowd.
People who were at the race and who watched live on television remember Sterling Marlin and Dale Earnhardt going back and forth for the lead for several laps with plenty of contact. Up until that point, it was almost inevitable that a crash was going to happen.
Video of the crash showed what many thought at first was a fatal accident but when medical crews arrived, Earnhardt climbed out and waved to the crowd refusing to be loaded onto a stretcher. Earnhardt bravely got into his car again the next weekend but was hurting too much and relinquished the wheel to Mike Skinner.
And like the stuff legends are made out of, Earnhardt jumped into his car the following weekend and took pole position at Watkins Glen with the fastest qualifying time. He led for most of the race until he got to tired finishing 6th.
Next: #5- 2010 DTM Adria: Alexandre Premat's Crash