Joe Gibbs Racing

First at last: Earnhardt's lone 500 victory still resonates

Dale Earnhardt was NASCAR's "Intimidator." He stormed into the sport and won his first Cup championship in only his second full season. Earnhardt had achieved about all there was to do in NASCAR by 1998, including a record-tying seven Cup Series championships.

Winning the Daytona 500 was the only milestone that eluded Earnhardt over the first two decades of his career. He was a victim of bad luck, missed opportunities and close calls that stamped him 0 for 19 in NASCAR's biggest race.

He typically was among the few favorites to win Daytona International Speedway's most prestigious event.

Earnhardt had lost 14 times driving the famed No. 3 car for Richard...