It was 15 years ago today that the NASCAR world changed dramatically as its biggest star died during the last lap of its biggest race.
Dale Earnhardt‘s final Daytona 500 was one that put the spotlight of both the media and collectors on the racing ranks like never before as The Intimidator’s life and his famous No. 3 Chevy were celebrated for all they had accomplished.
Countless diecasts, trading cards and other items were scooped up by collectors and new fans like never before back then. Today? The legend is still strong though the collectibles world has changed dramatically.
The 58th running of the Daytona 500 is a week away and, while NASCAR collectors won’t have new trading cards to commemorate their new season, there are already plenty of diecasts available and more on the way.
Rookie Chase Elliott won the pole for the race on Sunday — he’s the youngest driver to ever take that honor — and he’s one of some new faces in new cars as he’s behind the No. 24 Chevy previously run by four-time champ Jeff Gordon.
Elliott is the 20-year-old son of former Cup champion Bill Elliott and had 53 top-10 finishes in 66 Xfinity Series races — four of those wins — before making the jump to NASCAR’s top level.