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It's the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. The capacity crowd is on their feet cheering for the DEI-dominated top 3. As they enter turn 3, Dale Earnhardt Sr. is running directly behind his son, Dale Jr. Suddenly, Jr. becomes aero loose as air shifts around Michael Waltrip's car, and pushes into Jr's left rear quarter panel. He tries to save the car, and over corrects (A rookie mistake he only got to make once). His car slams nose-first into the turn 4 wall. A large crash ensues, with multiple drivers hitting both sides of Earnhardt Jr's car. His car finally comes to rest in the infield grass. Chad Knaus comes over the radio, "All right bud, swap cars with the 24 and get the win for Hendrick Motorsports." Dale Earnhardt Jr couldn't swap cars. He wasn't on Hendrick Motorsports, he wasn't playing NASCAR 06: Total Team Control, and worst of all: he was dead.
Fans around the world grieved the loss of Dale Earnhardt Jr, and they looked for solace in the only place they could find it: Mike Helton's mustache. His mustache calmed their hearts and dried their tears, but now there were problems that needed to be solved. Air was given the death penalty under the direction of President George W. Bush. Air was however given life in jail after the prosecutors discovered that you can't kill air. Dale Earnhardt Sr, after grieving the loss of his son, announced that he is retiring immediately, and that Dale Earnhardt Incorporated will cease operations permanently. This left Steve Park and Michael Waltrip without a ride for the remainder of the 2001 season. Steve Park become an announcer with FOX Sports, commonly seen in the Hollywood Hotel or doing his infamous grid walks. Michael Waltrip, however, fresh off of his first career victory, received an offer to drive a brand new car in the Cup Series, the #48, owned by Rick Hendrick.