Skip to content

April 29 begins a three-day stretch of somber memories/anniversaries

Apr 29, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

Japan F1 Honda AP

The Tuesday morning began with Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeting, simply, this:

Indeed today would have been Dale Earnhardt’s 63rd birthday. This year of course marks the return of the No. 3 to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ranks, and it was one of the biggest story lines heading into the season and the Daytona 500. Here’s a shot of Dale Sr., Dale Jr. and Kerry Earnhardt from the fall 2000 race at Michigan, as shot by Nigel Kinrade – the only race all three of them drove in together.

Earnhardt’s birthday anniversary today kicks off what is going to be a tough three-day stretch for the motorsports community, as memories of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix occur once more as that horrific weekend is now 20 years on.

This day, April 29, 1994, saw a savage accident incurred by then-second year driver Rubens Barrichello, in the Jordan 194, at Imola. He caught too much air going over a curb on the second-to-last chicane complex and his car somersaulted into the tire barriers, nearly clearing the catch fencing. Just as scary was the way the car was taken off, with Barrichello’s helmet moving at a rapid clip when the car was turned right side up. Fortunately he escaped with only minor injuries.

Wednesday, April 30, saw the first fatality on a Grand Prix weekend in a dozen years when Roland Ratzenberger’s Simtek crashed at high speed. A 33-year-old rookie, Ratzenberger had made it to Formula One after a long climb of the racing ladder; the Austrian was also due to race in that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with Toyota.

And of course, sadly, Thursday May 1 will mark 20 years since Ayrton Senna’s death in the San Marino Grand Prix. Numerous tributes, commemorative and other type pieces will occur with that date. Senna’s legend, if anything, has grown in the 20 years since 1994, and he remains a global icon and one of motorsport’s all-time heroes.

This week was always going to happen simply by the calendar moving forward every day, but it’s not going to be the easiest.

Latest Posts
  1. Tony Stewart’s return to NASCAR may be one of hardest things he’s ever done

    Aug 28, 2014, 8:22 PM EDT

    Coke Zero 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

    While he’ll be returning to the familiarity of being in a race car and around fellow drivers and race fans Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway after missing the last three races to grieve over the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy, it’s almost as if Tony Stewart will be starting his career anew.

  2. Drivers, SHR crew chiefs react to Stewart’s return on social media

    Aug 28, 2014, 7:40 PM EDT

    FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks - Practice Getty Images

    First reactions from the NASCAR community are starting to emerge after today’s announcement.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA: Trouble at Turner Scott Motorsports (VIDEO)

    Aug 28, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 - Practice Getty Images

    NASCAR AMERICA has more on the situation surrounding one of the Nationwide and Truck Series’ more prominent outfits.

  4. NASCAR AMERICA: Tony Stewart’s decision to go racing again (VIDEO)

    Aug 28, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT

    Samuel Deeds 400 At The Brickyard - Practice Getty Images

    USA Today’s Nate Ryan calls in to NASCAR AMERICA to talk about the impact of the three-time Sprint Cup champion’s return this weekend at Atlanta.

  5. BREAKING NEWS: Tony Stewart to return to race at Atlanta this weekend

    Aug 28, 2014, 4:38 PM EDT

    Stewart back at atl 2014 Getty Images

    After missing the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup races following the tragic accident that claimed the life of 20-year-old sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. at an upstate dirt track, NASCAR star Tony Stewart will return to racing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

  6. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET – More on Tony Stewart’s return

    Aug 28, 2014, 4:21 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    They don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing. As we get closer to Sunday’s Sprint Cup night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, things are definitely heating up.

  7. Team Penske on verge of ending 8-year IndyCar title drought

    Aug 28, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Roger Penske AP

    “The Captain” and his crew have not celebrated an IndyCar Series title since Sam Hornish Jr. won it all in 2006.

  8. IndyCar championship to be awarded in primetime this Saturday on NBCSN

    Aug 28, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

    MAVTV 500 Getty Images

    NBCSN coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ title tilt at Auto Club Speedway begins Friday at 7 p.m. ET with qualifying, followed by the MAV TV 500 on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.

  9. IndyCar title quest continues for Helio Castroneves

    Aug 28, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Honda Indy Toronto - Day 1 Getty Images

    The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner gets another chance to finally capture an IndyCar Series crown this Saturday night at Auto Club Speedway (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

  10. Wilson seeks bounce back, first 2014 podium at Fontana finale

    Aug 28, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    JWilIndy Getty Images

    Justin Wilson back at the track where he got injured a year ago, seeking to end 2014 on a high note.

  11. Could Tony Stewart return to race this weekend at Atlanta?

    Aug 28, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter, File) AP

    Could Tony Stewart’s three-week absence from NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in light of the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy be coming to an end?

  12. Report: McLaren trying for Vettel or Alonso

    Aug 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Previews Getty Images

    McLaren continues to push to try to bring a bigger name driver to its team ahead of Honda’s 2015 return.

  13. Report: Mercedes to hold on Hamilton contract talks until postseason

    Aug 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Belgium F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will wait to extend their deal until after the season ends.

  14. Dixon leads, Pagenaud has accident during Wednesday Fontana test

    Aug 28, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    MAVTV 500 Getty Images

    IndyCar banks a night of testing before this weekend’s MAVTV 500.

  15. Jamie McMurray having a much different season than he’s used to on and off the track in 2014

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:03 PM EDT

    Kyle Larson, left, and Jamie McMurray, right. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) AP

    It’s pretty simple and straight-forward what Jamie McMurray must do in the next two races if he has any hope of making this year’s expanded 16-driver field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

  16. NASCAR America video: Joey Logano’s maturity shines at Bristol

    Aug 27, 2014, 6:19 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Jeff Burton spoke with Rick Allen and Frank Stoddard about the spectacle of racing at Bristol and just how difficult Joey Logano’s victory at the half-mile oval was.

  17. NASCAR America video: Tony Stewart’s status for Atlanta still up in the air

    Aug 27, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Wade Payne) AP

    NASCAR driver jeff Burton says there has been no word yet from Tony Stewart on whether the latter will return to the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Atlanta after missing the last three races due to the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy, but it could be a last-minute decision.

  18. Reports: Turner Scott’s NASCAR Truck team in transition (UPDATED)

    Aug 27, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    TSMTrucks Getty Images

    The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Turner Scott Motorsports team was reportedly set to close; however, that appears to have changed.

  19. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET — Burton on replacing Stewart, Logano’s Bristol win, Atlanta look ahead

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT

    140827-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America will be chock full of looking back at Saturday’s race at Bristol, as well as starting our lookahead over the next three days for this Sunday’s night race at Atlanta.

  20. IndyCar: New Orleans race confirmed with April 12 date (UPDATED)

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    indynola

    IndyCar will formally confirm the addition of New Orleans to its 2015 schedule later Wednesday.

Video from NASCAR America

Inside Tony Stewart's return to racing
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2249)
  2. K. Busch (2137)
  3. K. Harvick (1785)
  4. K. Larson (1687)
  5. B. Keselowski (1289)
  1. J. Logano (1249)
  2. R. Blaney (1248)
  3. C. Elliott (1158)
  4. J. Boston (954)
  5. A. Almirola (874)