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Photo: RacingOne
Photo: RacingOne

15 years since Dale Earnhardt killed in last lap crash in Daytona 500

Thursday marked the 15-year anniversary of the 2001 Daytona 500, marred by the death of legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt was running third on the final lap of the race when he crashed head on into the outside wall.

Officials believe Earnhardt died instantly. He was 49.

Since Earnhardt's death, numerous safety improvements in NASCAR have kept racing fatalities at zero.

This year's Daytona 500 will be held Sunday.

Fans are invited to visit the grounds of Dale Earnhardt Inc. Thursday evening to remember Earnhardt. The building will be closed and illuminated with candles, and a guest book will be available for signing and sharing special memories.

Fans are welcome to stop by from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Dale Earnhardt Inc., 1675 Dale Earnhardt Highway 3, in Mooresville.

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