What Connects NASCAR Legend Dale Earnhardt and Formula One?

Published 08/11/2021, 2:27 PM EDT
DARLINGTON, SC – SEPTEMBER 3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Sr. pose for a photograph after the Pepsi Southern 500 at the Darlington Raceway on September 3, 2000 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)


Formula One and NASCAR and two completely different racing disciplines, akin to chalk and cheese. However, there have been occasions where F1 drivers and NASCAR drivers have interacted with each other. One notable example of this is F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, who is a big fan of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. Interestingly, Earnhardt himself was a Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna fan!

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As it turns out, Mansell was the first Jerry Titus driver of the year Award winner and was present during the 1994 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association banquet. Meanwhile, Dale Earnhardt Sr found his way onto the AARWBA’s All-America team.

The Briton had been in excellent form in the previous two years with back-to-back titles. First and foremost, he won the 1992 Formula One title and the 1993 IndyCar World Series title. Meanwhile, Dale Sr had just snatched his sixth Winston Cup title and was in the prime of his career.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr was also a big admirer of Ayrton Senna

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A year later, the motorsport world was stunned when news broke of Ayrton Senna’s death at the San Marino Grand Prix. Needless to say, one racing legend acknowledged another when Dale Sr paid tribute to the Brazilian. It is worth mentioning that the 1994 NASCAR Winston Select 500 was held on the same day as the San Marino GP.

A portrait of Ayrton Senna of Brazil, driver of the #1 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/7A Honda V12 during tyre testing for the British Grand Prix on 7 July 1992 at the Silverstone Circuit in Towcester, Great Britain. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Allsport/Getty Images)

Ahead of the Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR organized a pre-race tribute for the late Brazilian. To be precise, the field completed several parade laps around the track out of respect. Poetically, Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the race and extended his condolences to Senna’s family.

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Obviously, NASCAR and F1 are on opposite ends of the racing stable; however, drivers in both series acknowledge each other. No matter which racing discipline they are in, drivers know that whenever they race, there is an element of danger. Nevertheless, they are willing to take the risks.

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Dhruv George

11980 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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