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Home Motorsport RaceFans Round-up: "I was crying": Ricciardo recalls Earnhardt's death, 20 years on

RaceFans Round-up: “I was crying”: Ricciardo recalls Earnhardt’s death, 20 years on


In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo recalls how he was affected by the death of NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt on this day 20 years ago.

What they say

Earnhardt, pictured in 1995, died 20 years ago today

Ricciardo took inspiration from Earnhardt when he chose number three as his permanent career number. The McLaren driver was 11 when the seven-times NASCAR champion Earnhardt died on the final lap of the Daytona 500.

The 18th of February I think is the 20th year. I remember vividly the race 20 years ago, my reaction to the news. I was crying.

I called my friend at the time, Stephen, we raced go-karts together and he was also a big Earnhardt fan. I called him as soon as I saw the news and we just basically cried on the phone together.

He was a hero, for sure. In 2014 when I took on the number three and I also had it in the back of my mind to take on ‘The Intimidator’. And obviously my version of that was the ‘Honey Badger’. But I thought it was really my year to make a bit of a statement, to be the guy that was not afraid to put on a big move, to race hard. I didn’t feel I’d quite had that yet and that first year with Red Bull was my chance to really make that statement and to earn that reputation. So for sure, part of that was on the back of Earnhardt and how he inspired me.

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