Dale Earnhardt Jr. shared a moving tribute to his dad, Dale Earnhardt, 20 years after his death in a race course crash.
“Thinking about this man today and every day,” Earnhardt wrote in an Instagram post, sharing a photo of his father. “Appreciate everyone out there who continues to celebrate his life.”
The elder Earnhardt died at age 49 on Feb. 18, 2001, in a last-lap collision at the Daytona 500. The legendary NASCAR driver won 76 Winston Cup races throughout his career and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.
His son, 46, is also a NASCAR Hall of Famer and retired from full-time racing in 2017. He now works as an analyst for NBC Sports.
Earnhardt has paid tribute to his dad in the past on social media. On the 18th anniversary of his death in 2019, the NASCAR star shared some old photos he found of his father.
“Every year on this day I get to see all kinds of great comments and photos related to dad. They are always nice to see,” Earnhardt wrote. “But especially cool is finding pictures you’ve never seen before, like these. Dad, in his fathers old shop working on his BGN car in 1984.”
Later that year, he also shared a sweet selfie on Twitter, posing in front of a statue of his father outside the Daytona International Speedway.
“Look who I ran into at the Daytona Experience. Dad's Happy!” he tweeted.
Earnhardt tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend, Amy Reimann, in 2016 and later became a dad himself. The couple share two daughters, 4-month-old Nicole Lorraine and Isla Rose, who turns 3 in April.
In an interview last year on the Waltrip Unfiltered podcast, the younger NASCAR legend opened up about how he wished his dad could have met his wife and family.
“Him and Amy would have really got along great,” he said.
“I would have loved to have shared Isla,” he added in the podcast, which was recorded before his second daughter was born. “And seen how dad was with her."
“It sucks that he can’t see it. Maybe he can see all this. Maybe he is looking down and proud.”