Daytona plans Dale Earnhardt silent lap

Updated: February 13, 2011, 3:38 PM ET
Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Daytona International Speedway is asking for a moment of silence on the third lap of the Daytona 500 as a tribute to the late Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt was killed in an accident on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. The speedway considered various ways to mark the 10-year anniversary of Earnhardt's death.

[+] EnlargeEarnhardt
AP Photo/Russell WilliamsDale Earnhardt, seen before the 2001 Daytona 500, will be remembered with a silent tribute.

"We felt the appropriate way to honor Dale Earnhardt was in the actual racing," said track president Joie Chitwood. "The best way to appreciate the things Dale did -- he was about racing -- and how we respect him should be on the track. That to us was a real racing tribute and more appropriate than anything we could have done in the pre-race show."

Chitwood said track officials were working with the broadcast partners to go silent on the third lap of the Feb. 20 race. Fans will also be asked to stand and raise three fingers on that lap for Earnhardt.

"That sounds great," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's awesome however creative people become. I just love seeing him honored and love seeing him recognized. He's fortunate and I'm fortunate to have witnessed it and to have been a small piece of it, be a part of it.

"It will be a good experience for me. I'm hoping that [his mother] Martha is watching every second of it and enjoying it and his brothers and sisters are pleased. I hope it's a positive experience."

The No. 3 will also be painted into the grass at Daytona on Saturday night before the season-opening race.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press