I regret Dale Earnhardt's tragic accident and untimely death. I also regret the incomplete reporting of his contribution to sports. His impact goes way beyond motor racing.
Earnhardt can be credited with not only legitimizing, but also institutionalizing, destructively aggressive techniques in the sport of stock car racing. Worse yet, he didn't only exhibit this in the heat of battle, but he deliberately took it beyond the checkered flag. As an example, read the Buffalo News from 2/1 7/0 1, ". . . to the delight of the crowd, the Intimidator gave the bumper of Cheever's car a whack on the cooldown lap, sending him spinning down the back straightaway." Earnhardt was quoted as saying, "It didn't hurt anything." I strongly disagree.
Earnhardt may well have been a generous man off the track. I contend that his antics on the track will have a much more significant, and destructive impact on sports fans. Think about this hero the next time you read about road rage.