By peoplestaff225
May 18, 1998 12:00 AM

Stock-car racing safety is going to come under some close scrutiny this week in the wake of Sunday’s Daytona 500 death of legendary NASCAR driver Dale “The Intimidator” Earnhardt, 49, who was killed in a 180-mph smashup on the Florida track where he had racked up 34 victories. A half-mile before the finish, trying to catch up with his son, Dale Jr. (who took second place in the ultimately tainted race), and driver Michael Waltrip (who took first), Earnhardt’s Chevy suddenly careened out of control. His car went sideways and was then broad-sided by a Pontiac driven by Ken Schrader. He is believed to have been killed instantly. “He was unconscious, unresponsive from the time of the first paramedics’ arrival,” emergency trauma surgeon Dr. Steve Bohannon, who was rushed to Earnhardt’s side, told reporters. A record crowd of 195,000 spectators witnessed the fatal crash in stunned silence.

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