I've been researching Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash at Daytona in 2001.

I have yet to find any mention of the exact time when the crash happened.

Is there a credible source that lists the precise time that the crash occurred? What exactly was that time?

  • Official documents don't mention it, but if you can live with a rounded value it was around 4:05 pm eastern.
    – dly
    Feb 9, 2018 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


The 2001 Daytona 500 started approximately 1:00pm ET. (Source)

The exact time of race for the 2001 Daytona 500 was 3 hours, 5 minutes, 26 seconds. (Source 2)

Thus, as dly says, 4:05pm ET would be the approximate time of Dale Earnhardt's crash. I would say the exact time would be no more than +- 1 minute from this approximation as the finish line was crossed seconds after the crash and the only other variable that would need an exact value to find the exact crash time would be the start time.

He was pronounced dead at 5:16pm ET. (Source 3)

  • Just clarifying something in my mind - is the reported "Time of Race" the full extent of time from beginning (however that is defined) to the first car to cross the finish line, or would any time spent under a flag (especially following a pace car and not being able to change position in the line) not be counted in that time count? Any other conditions, like a full stop, not be counted toward the reported "Time of Race"?
    – bsmither
    Feb 9, 2018 at 21:52
  • That's a separate question you may ask, but as far as I always understood growing up, "time of race" was the amount of time from the start of the first lap to the first car to cross the finish line. I couldn't find any official info to back this up.
    – user14817
    Feb 11, 2018 at 2:54

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