Driver Dale Earnhardt signs a fans program during the Brickyard 400, part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.
A true legend
Dale Earnhardt embodied everything NASCAR fans loved, or loved to argue about, anyway. A tenacious racer from a humble background, he grew from a man learning the ropes to a seven-time NASCAR Cup champion. He is among the first five inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Here's a look at the man who galvanized a sport and fan base for more than 20 years.
A champion among champions
Driver Kenny Brack (left) and Jeff Burton chat while Dale Earnhardt watches in the background prior to an International Race of Champions race at Daytona International Speedway.
Like father, like son
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Earnhardt share a moment following the Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 3, 2000.
Man in black
Dale Earnhardt Sr. watches the action during the NASCAR race weekend at Auto Club Speedway in 2000.
The people's champion
Driver Dale Earnhardt signs autographs during the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Cup race weekend in 1999.
Race winners Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd pose with the trophy during the Brickyard 400 race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1999.
A private moment
Dale Earnhardt watches practice at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1999.
Dale Earnhardt and wife, Teresa (left), celebrate following Earnhardt's NASCAR Cup victory in the 1998 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Crew chief Larry McReynolds (left) talks with Dale Earnhardt at Talladega Superspeedway in 1997.
Dale Earnhardt hugs the 1994 NASCAR Cup championship trophy following his victory at North Carolina Motor Speedway that year. It was the seventh career title for the man who also topped the series in 1980, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1993.
Earnhardt takes a moment away from the crowd during his 1990 championship season.