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| Blast from the Past
Dale Penghardt describes events that happened in the Past, as researched by the Time Agency. Be aware that these events are not in the Present or the Future, just the Past. They may be dead, torn down, or simply nonexistent in the present.
A photo of Dale Penghardt.
December 7, 1951|
South Pole City
February 27, 2001|
South Pole City Superspeedway, South Pole City (Age 49)
|Cause of death||Head and Chest Trauma due to racing accident.|
|PASCAR Peach Cup Series career|
|Car no., team||Richy Child Racing|
|Best finish||1st (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)|
|First race||1989 Kings Cross 250 (El Tora)|
|Last race||2001 SPC 500|
|First win||1989 Hotworths 500 (Talledegee)|
|Last win||2000 Hotworths 500 (Talledegee)|
|PASCAR Penguin Mail Semi-Pro Series career|
|Car no., team||Richy Child Racing|
|2000 position||34th (2000)|
|Best finish||19th (1998)|
|First race||1994 SPC Kurtsmith Tools 250|
|Last race||2000 Locksmith 300 (El Tora)|
|First win||1994 SPC Kurtsmith Tools 250|
|Last win||2000 Locksmith 300 (El Tora)|
Dale Penghardt (December 7th, 1951 - February 27th, 2001) was a 7-time PASCAR Cup Series champion, tying with Johnny Jennings and Ricky Betty. He was the father of current PASCAR driver Dale Penghardt Jr. His nickname is popularly known as "Pale Penghardt" because his feathers are a pale black, in other words, gray-ish. He popularly won the 1998 SPC 500. He also gained over 70 wins in his career. He was killed in a last lap wreck in the infamous 2001 SPC 500.
- 1 History
- 2 Career
- 2.1 Pre-PASCAR Career (1967 - 1988)
- 2.2 Beginning of PASCAR Career
- 2.3 Rise to Fame (1990 - 1991)
- 2.4 Golden Era (1992 - 1998)
- 2.5 Late Career (1999 - 2000)
- 2.6 Death (2001)
- 3 Personal Life
- 4 Dale Penghardt Inc.
- 5 Legacy
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Trivia
- 9 See Also
Dale Penghardt was born on December 7th, 1951, in South Pole City. He was raised by Denise Penghardt and Vince Penghardt, who at the time was a famous dirt track racer. In South Pole City, Dale lived in a small apartment building, unfortunately the safety standards were low and it was rat infested. The only way to get food on the table and pay the bills was by Vince's performance on the track. While he was tallented, there was still not enough prize money to spend on luxuries. Denise was denied several jobs due to being female, which was common during the time. She would begin working at the diner and Vince in the garage to work on his car. Dale usually had to wait hours after school for a ride home when he was young, for his parents was almost always busy trying to make ends meet. At least until he became impatient and began walking home on his own, which was also dangerous at the time because South Pole City was filled with criminals in the mid 20th century.
Due to the safety risks, Penghardt was put in the homeschool and was taught by his dad and the garage. Vince worked as a mechanic part time, and taught Dale how a car worked. As well as teach him what a normal school would teach. Vince was a pretty smart person, but it was also pretty hard to get jobs in South Pole City due to the economy.
Dale when he became a teenager began to help set up his dad's cars at the dirt track, after years of teaching, Dale was a top tier mechanic. Which is surprising for his young age. When he turned 16, he would soon begin to start dirt racing.
Pre-PASCAR Career (1967 - 1988)
Penghardt had no prior experience to driving a race car, or driving any car because he had just attained his license. In his first career race, he had wrecked the car on the first lap, it was a dirt track race. Penghardt had zero experience in dirt racing. When you do dirt track racing, you gotta put the steering wheel to the right to go left. And move the steering wheel to the left to go right. Penghardt thought that the normal thing to do was put it to the left. He immediately went into the wall and blew the engine. His dad kept him from racing until he could get his bearings. So he had been doing test runs and raced with his dad from the ages of 16 - 17 until he finally understood how to race. Both on dirt and basic pavement. He would finally race again when he was 18, and won the race showing what would be a promising career. Penghardt over the years jumped from dirt track to dirt track for the first few years running his own cars. And then ran a mix of asphalt and dirt tracks for the a few more years. Finally he found a late model series in the mid 1970s, in 1974, he would join the All Star Late Model Series. The schedule consisted of asphalt and dirt tracks, something he had obviously raced on in prior years. His performance in the series was outstanding, winning the championship in his rookie year and was extremely consistent in standings. He had won 10 championships in the late model series from 1974 to 1988, and in years he didn't win, he was in the top 3 in standings.
Beginning of PASCAR Career
In 1989, following success at many dirt tracks, Penghardt found sign ups for what would be the first PASCAR race. He immediately signed up, as the first race was a dirt track. Over the next few weeks, Penghardt stowed away in his garage, away from any penguin contact, just to work on his car. Day in and day out he worked on it, he soon chose not to leave the garage and stocked up on food and water, and even installed a toilet in his own garage (With privacy enhancing doors, of course.). Finally, the day came for Penghardt, he was covered in sweat and didn't care, he refused to go to practice to get final checks on the car, and went through inspection successfully, then went to qualifying, unfortunately, he spun out and had to start last in his heat race. But, he pulled off a big time win there in that heat race and got the pole. Within the start of the race, he pulled away from the field and dominated. But once again, a problem occured, on the last lap in a fight for the lead with Ricky Betty, Penghardt's engine failed and the car was ingulfed in smoke. Taking him out of contention for the win.
After the race, a frustrated Penghardt got out of the car, his head in his flippers, he vowed to do the whole season and win at least one race. The next week after yet again hiding in his garage, Penghardt made yet another strong car. Once again, he suffered engine failure during qualifying, and then started in the back of the field. But, he pulled together and was 5th in the race.
Over the course of the season, Penghardt's car had a reputation of being unstable and unreliable, as it broke down in several races and qualifying sessions. He also refused to do any practice. Nonetheless, in the final race of the season, Penghardt stunned nay sayers who thought he wouldn't win, and won the final race of the season. He was 7th in his first season, in his own self built car.
But, the season was covered in controversy, as Penghardt had a tendency to "tap" over drivers for position and wreck them, he had an over agressive driving style which kept him from being able to win several times.
Rise to Fame (1990 - 1991)
Sadly, once PASCAR gained traction, numerous teams popped up, and drivers who made their own cars were outmoded. Penghardt fell out of a ride for the 1990 season. And most people were glad he was gone, due to his aggressive tendencies. But, Penghardt made a friendship with a person known as Richy Child, Richy knew that Penghardt had potential and that he could channel his aggressive style into one of a champion. So he got him a ride in the 33 car, the number he would drive for the rest of his career. So Penghardt got a strong ride, a good team, and the best crew chief. In 1990, Penghardt began to really show his worth, he came in contention for more wins. Though, becoming a aggressive driver to a champion overnight is not possible. He caused several more "taps" which lead to fighting on pit road, one in which involved an infamous wreck with Terry LeBonte. He also was involved in several pit road incidents where Penghardt got a black eye and a bloody forehead. By the end of the 1990 season, Penghardt got 5 wins, and improved from 7th to 4th in standings.
During the offseason, Penghardt worked in the garage with the RCR engineering team to produce an ever stronger car, and this one would be a force to be reckoned with. When the season started, Penghardt dominanted the SPC 500, up until the final lap where he was caught in a last lap wreck. Unfortunately, Penghardt was injured. He had broken a flipper and his beak was cracked. He missed 5 races and came back, but when he came back, the winning didn't stop, with 5 races gone, came 5 race wins in a row for Penghardt. None of them involved controversial "taps." As the season progressed, Penghardt contended against Ricky Betty for the 1991 title, the first to do so since the series was founded. But, of course, the season for Penghardt once again became controversial because he had yet again, did another "tap." This time around, he spun out rookie Bob LeBonte. And the fighting that occured was unbelievable. The circumstances of the crash suspended Penghardt for 3 races, despite this, he was still in contention for the championship. After his 3 race suspension, he won 3 more races, and the championship battle went down to the wire, but Betty won the 1991 championship by 3 points. This left Penghardt disappointed, and RCR went back to the drawing board for what would be, they're 7 great seasons.
Golden Era (1992 - 1998)
When the offseason began, Penghardt became extremely strict, and demanded the best from his engineering team, and that they will give him 110% or be out on their keister. The intimidating factor of Penghardt set his workers straight, and they worked day and night, some even working overtime, just to produce a better car. With all the modifications made to the car, it was, once again, a force to be reckoned with. The 33 car was brought out to the SPC 500 again, and Penghardt was always in the top 5 for the entire race, he got the lead on the second to last lap, until he popped loose and suffered a final lap pass from Terry LeBonte. And the two we're involved in a rather heated discussion, Penghardt screamed obscenities on TV and was forced to pay 10,000 CPC for it. Which lead to one of his popular quotes "Some expensive curse word!" But, shortly after the first race of the season, he gained momentum, collecting 7 wins in a row, breaking a 1989 record set by Ricky Betty, Penghardt would add on to this record with 10 in a row in 1998. Once Penghardt grabbed the lead, there was no stopping him, leading the standings for 35 of the 36 races, breaking another record by Betty, which Penghardt will also break for leading the standings the entire season in '98. Penghardt tried his best to limit his "taps" as much as possible. Despite his best efforts, he spun around Ricky Betty, leading to another fight on pit road. As every race progressed, Penghardt only seemed to get stronger. Until finally, at the last race of the season, he won the championship, 50 points ahead of Terry LeBonte. It was an emotional time for Penghardt because of this. He thaked his team, his crew, and the owner of his time, by this point, Richy Child and Penghardt became best friends.
Despite winning the championship, Penghardt didn't lower the pressure on his mechanical crew, but only seemed to up it, in a pep speech, Penghardt said "Today, we've won our first championship, but now we must put it behind us and look forward for next seqson. This year, we're gonna aim higher, and build on our current success. We are a great team, and we're gonna prove it again by winning this year's championship, and then the next and so on. So, what are we waiting for? LET'S WORK, WORK, WORK!" And work they did. Penghardt's team was able to make another strong car for the 1993 season. For the SPC 500, however, this did not improve his chances of winning here. Penghardt raced hard to win the race, but was outdone by the LeBonte brothers and Betty. He finished a solid 4th. A more competitive era of PASCAR had opened and young talent began to break through, they challenged Penghardt in every race of the season. But this season was also marred by driver fatalities outside the track, as two popular drivers died in separate plane crashes at different times. Despite this, Penghardt put on a show, and won 7 races, narrowly beating out Ricky Betty for another title by 2 points. After winning the championship, Penghardt and the final race winner Bobby LeBonte did a reverse victory lap in honor of the fallen drivers. And Penghardt dedicated the championship to them. This was, amazing, one of the few seasons where he didn't do one of his infamous "Taps."
Adding to the 1993 season, Penghardt's son, Dale Penghardt Jr., at the age of 16 years old, made his Penguin Mail Semi-Pro Series debut in its inaugural race in South Pole City Superspeedway. Jr was able to win the race, dominating it, as for Sr, he had grown a little jealous of his son due to the fact he had won at the track he wanted to so dearly win before his own son.
Upon the end of the 1993 season, Penghardt used his race winnings to open his own team, Dale Penghardt Inc. But despite now having his own team, he refused to drive in it and continued to drive for his best friend Richy Child.
The season began with a horrifying wreck in the SPC 500, where "The Big One" occurred the first time in the season, where half the field was taken out after halfway through the race, Penghardt was involved in the wreck as well. An angered Penghardt asked who started the wreck, his crew chief wouldn't tell him, because he knew Penghardt would start a fight, or "Tap" him. But one way or another, Penghardt found out that strong rival, Bob LeBonte, caused the wreck. Right after Bob climbed out of his car, Penghardt ran right up to Bob and tackled him down, causing a fistfight, this was aired on international television and ratings soared for the event. Penghardt was immediately sent the trailer after the race for his fighting and was suspended 3 races. But, after those three races, he won three in a row. People popularly called this as "The Penghardt Pattern," where he would get suspended for any number of races, then win the same amount of races he was suspended for in a row. Over the course of the season, Penghardt fought his way up to the top against young guns and veterans alike. He also showed his dislike for the LeBonte brothers by attempting to take them out in races and cursing their name in the radio. Terry LeBonte replied: "I honestly don't care what Penghardt dose. He can curse until his face turns red, but he doesn't change the fact he's way too aggressive for this series." But, unless Penghardt was physically fighting someone on the track, they couldn't do anything about it. By the final race, Penghardt had closed the gap between him and Barry Ashford. He went all the way to the final lap where Penghardt passed him and took the points lead, winning his 3rd championship in a row and tying with Ricky Betty's record for consecutive championships. He also participated in several races in the Penguin Mail Semi-Pro Series for Richy Child, winning all 5 of the races he appeared in.
The streak of 3 championships in a row brought great up best enthusiasm into the RCR team, the engineering crew were doing their very best without being barked at by Penghardt. They continued to create strong cars, but yet again, Penghardt was unable to win what he's wanted to win in his PASCAR career, which was the SPC 500. He lead 107 laps, but was beaten out by Ike Krintrip for the win. This time around, Penghardt was now involved in a growing rivaly with Ike, as much as he had with Betty and the LeBonte brothers. Ike was actually a veteran of PASCAR, being there since the inaugural season, but this time, he had an extremely good car, as good as Penghardt's. This season became a battle of wits and skill for the then 3 time champ. Penghardt's "Tap" ratio seemed to increase that season, and "accidentally" wrecked Krintrip in a race, this lead to a pit road fight, giving Ike a black eye, and Penghardt a bloody beak. Fortunately for Penghardt, he would not get suspended for his actions. But the next week after spinning out Krintrip, Penghardt would be spun out by Ike. Which lead to another fight. Pit row reporter Kingsley Martin said "They had become more like boxers then they did stock car drivers." Ike Krintrip was penalized 5 races to go in the season due to this, and it denied him his first championship, and Penghardt was to win his 4th championship in a row. This broke the Betty record for consecutive championships. Adding onto the great season, his son made his rookie year in the 1995 season and won the championship, leaving Sr very emotional.
Upon the winning of his 4th championship, Penghardt ceased to make his team rest, and still kept them working long nights to prepare the cars, but they were given high wages for their work. Around the same time, the Snowtendo Truck Series was formed and Penghardt immediately set upa branch for his team, making a 3 car line up of Dale Penghardt Jr, Mike Krintrip, and Steven Tark. Dale Jr. would run both the trucks and the Penguin Mail series full time.
Once again, he would be unable to win the SPC 500, falling a close second to Ike Krintrip. Soon, Penghardt's temper was reaching a boiling point, attending the post-race conference and calling Krintrip "A cheater if I ever saw one!" And Krintrip shot back at Penghardt, saying "This is what he does, he'll fight you, call you a cheater, trying to find a way to make him feel better about himself."
The Hate Triangle
Penghardt continued to look ahead, nonetheless. But, Penghardt was involved in several "Tappings". Oddly, it wasn't Penghardt who "Tapped" them, but either Krintrip, or Bob LeBonte. As the season went along, it seemed these three drivers were hating each other, and people called it "The Hate Triangle."
El Tora Incident
At the El Tora race track, the three drivers wrecked each other midway in a heat race, and this lead to "The biggest fist fight you'll ever see in PASCAR." This fist fight lasted for 15 minutes before they either became exhausted or were separated by race officials. They suffered varying injuries, from bruised ribs up to a sprained flipper. The drivers, ironically, ended up riding in the same ambulance, which another fight started, and was also televised as well. The three drivers were removed from the race and would watch it from the sidelines. Terry LeBonte would win the race.
Remainder of Season
Shortly after suspension, Penghardt's special pattern continued, and won the next race, and started getting into his goove and became competitive. He fought hard against Krintrip and Bob LeBonte for a good section of the season. By the final race, Penghardt once again won the championship, his 5th in a row. Bob LeBonte finished second, 26 points behind, and Ike Krintrip finished 3rd, 57 points behind Penghardt.
Penghardt would celebrate more championship success with his team, as Steven Tark won the inaugural Truck Series title, and Penghardt Jr. would win his second championship in a row in the Penguin Mail Series.
Upon the start of yet another season, Penghardt was really pushing the envelope on his technical crew and the engineering group to build a strong race car. He forced them to work long nights and cut their wages for "Economic reasons." Penghardt had been able to keep the team together for 7 years so far, but after the conditions he's put his workers through, they went on strike.
Upon the beginning of the strike, all RCR projects were halted immediately. Richy Child was now in a bind thanks to Penghardt due to his aggressive tendencies. It was January and the SPC 500 was just a month away, and they needed to get a good superspeedway car done, which Penghardt would likely wreck or fail to finish on the lead lap, or just finish 2nd, then lash out on his workers.
The workers wanted shorter work hours, due to Dale forcing them to work long in order to make a good car. And then they wanted somebody other than Penghardt to watch over the creations of the cars, stating that since he has his own race team, he shouldn't care about another teams cars.
Negotiations lasted 2 weeks until an agreement was reached. Richy Child would now look over the car and not Penghardt. This was done because Richy is actually a mechanical genius. Also, he is also Penghardt's friend so is basically an eye in the sky of sorts.
Upon the beginning of the 1997 season, Penghardt, for the first time in his career, won the pole for the SPC 500, then, he won his qualifying duel. Upon the course of the race, Penghardt had a very strong car. But at lap 157 of 200, Penghardt was caught up in an accidental where his car flipped on the backstretch. Penghardt was able to bring it to pit road, make repairs, and finish the race 28th, 20 laps down. Afterwards, Penghardt held in his anger up until the post race interview. He called out Ralph Controvez, the driver who accidentally wrecked Penghardt in the race, called him "A moron if anything. If he couldn't notice I was coming down on him, then he shouldn't be racing!" Throughout the course of the season, he was facing pressure with numerous drivers, mainly from Ricky Betty, who had once again regained energy to contend for the championship. As the season went on, the two were side by side for the lead almost always, occasionally they would wreck each other for position, which lead to Terry LeBonte to get an advantage on the two. Each driver was rubbing paint and spinning each other out, this season had become increasingly chaotic. By the final race, it was possible for Betty, LeBonte, and Penghardt to win the championship. But at 5 laps to go, where Penghardt was 1st and LeBonte and Betty we're fighting for second, the battle for 2nd became so fierce that they wrecked each other and took them out of contention. Penghardt finally won the race, and claimed Championship #6.
Mike Krintrip would become the Truck Series Champion, and Steven Tark claimed his first Penguin Mail championship.
Upon the massive success of DEI, Penghardt decided to open a Cup branch for the team. Steven Tark, the 1997 Penguin Mail champion, would get the honorary ride full time. Mike Krintrip would make a move to the Penguin Mail series. Dale Penghardt Jr. would stay in the Penguin Mail series full time.
1998 SPC 500 Win
RCR had worked hard that year, breaking their backs to make a extremely strong car for the SPC 500. Unlike Penghardt, Richy Child was more supportive and helpful to the crew, offering technical support and assistance when needed. Penghardt would be busy coaching Tark on how to drive the SPC speedway in a Cup car, up until the checkered flag, where he was offering advice over the radio.
In qualifying, Penghardt proved his strength by getting the pole for the race. Adding to that, his qualifying lap for the race would be his fastest ever. Tark would qualify 12th.
By the next day, the green flag was in the air at the SPC 500, and Penghardt led them off. But the race became caution prone. As there were numerous engine failures and wrecks. The Big One occured when Betty tried to make a move on Bob LeBonte for 7th, making Bob spin out and smash up Betty's car. And Terry LeBonte was suddenly involved, then another driver, and then another. 25 cars were involved. And only 10 of them would be able to continue racing. Tark got all the way up to 2nd due to the wrecks the occured. Penghardt remained first. When the green flag went back in the air Penghardt faced immediate pressure from his Semi-Teammate, Steven Tark.
They would battle out for the final laps until a caution was triggered a single car wreck from Lenard Pardo.
Penghardt would win the race under caution, and for the first time in his career, get the checkered flag at SPC International Speedway.
Soon enough, Penghardt had found a grove, a very familiar grove to what he had in his popular 1992 season, except this time around, Penghardt pushed it to the limit. The equipment Penghardt used made it the most funded team in the PASCAR season. And right after his SPC 500 win, he would break a record held by himself in the 1992 season, where he would win 9 more races after the first race of the season, leading to a total of 10 wins in a row (7 in 1992). Adding to that, Penghardt would be able to lead the standings all season, breaking his own record (Penghardt lead 35 of 36 races in the standings for the 1992 season). His semi-teammate, Steven Tark, would win 5 races. Penghardt won 25 of the 36 races, adding to Tark's 5 wins, lead to 30/36 of the races being Penghardt dominant. 2 wins went to Ricky Betty, 2 to Ike Krintrip, and 1 to Bob LeBonte, with another for Terry LeBonte. This would be Penghardt's 7th and final championship he would ever have.
Mike Krintrip would become the 1998 Penguin Mail Series Champion for Penghardt's team.
Late Career (1999 - 2000)
By this point, Penghardt's career began to decline, his team was still making excellent cars, it was just Penghardt's performance of that very season. But nonetheless, the season was of great pride for Penghardt, as Steven Tark was showing success, not only that, but he brought Mike Krintrip up to the Cup level full time, making it Dale Penghardt Inc. into a 2 car team, adding to that line up, his son, Pale Jr., would begin a part time Cup season of 5 races.
1999 SPC 500 Wreck
The SPC 500 showed the debute of drivers Dale Penghardt Jr and Mike Krintrip. Steven Tark would be starting his 2nd SPC 500. During qualifying, Penghardt Sr. would prove his fast car by qualifying 2nd, Mike Krintrip grabbed the pole on his first ever race. At the beginning, Mike Krintrip lead 5 laps until being passed by Penghardt. Where he lead 117/200 laps. On lap 126, Penghardt was fighting to keep the lead until his was spun out by Ricky Betty, his car began to flip several times, then the roof flaps broke off and his car became airborne, in the air flying at 190 MPH, the car went through the catch fence and was no longer in the speedway, where the car continued to flip until landing on its top in the parking lot. PASCAR didn't stop the race, but red flagged it. Penghardt was immediately cut out from his car and airlifted to the hospital, where he had busted flippers and ribs. After a 5 hour red flag for repairs, the green flag went back in the air for the remaining laps. Dale Jr, Mike Krintrip, and Steven Tark were on the top 3, suddenly, Tark took the air off Krintrip's car and slingshotted himself to 2nd, Dale Jr and Tark were fighting hard for the win. Finally, on the final lap, Steven Tark went side by side for Jr for the lead coming off on turn 4, but Jr continued his side drafting and gained some ground, leading to a photo finish. Dale Penghardt Jr would win the race by 0.01 seconds as determined by computer scoring. There was minimal celebration, as Dale Jr immediately went to the hospital to see his father, celebrations were taken in the hospital room Penghardt was in.
As a result of his injuries, Penghardt would miss the next 9 races of the season. This would damage his points run for the championship greatly. By the time Penghardt was able to get back into the car, he was in 59th place, as he only participated in one race and finished last. The first race in his return, Penghardt would win. This would be his only win in the season. Penghardt depended mainly on consistency to get back up the points standings, by the 5 race to go mark, he finally made it to the top 10 in standings. Penghardt would do all he can just to finish in the top 10, his driving style became increasingly aggressive, many drivers complained about this, but nonetheless, it payed off for Penghardt, as he finished 6th in the final point standings. Ricky Betty would win his 4th career championship. Steven Tark was runner up for the championship, 5 points behind, Mike Krintrip got ROTY honors, despite not winning a race, he finished 10th in standings. Dale Penghardt Jr would finish in the top 5 in all the races he participated in, which were 5 races. He finished 45th in standings because of his part time season.
Now, it was the year 2000 and the new millennium had come for PASCAR. RCR and DEI were still strong teams. Something was special about this year, and the teams were pushing to make the best out of their equipment. Extremely hard work had been put up over the two month break. And this would be the rookie year for Dale Penghardt Jr, who was the 1999 SPC 500 winner.
The day had come for Penghardt to compensate for his unfortunate wreck in the last SPC 500, he would qualify 5th in the field. Mike Krintrip would capture his first career Cup pole. Dale Penghardt Jr was 3rd and Steven Tark was 2nd. A frantic start had come forth when the green flag had waved. The cars were jumbled up and cars were all over the field. But amazingly, the field kept itself from wrecking. Penghardt would be able to make it from 5th to 1st in the first lap. Once again, Penghardt was in his dominant ways. He would lead 125 of the 200 laps. Finally, on the final lap, Penghardt was trying to block a charging Ricky Betty, then his car spun on the backstretch and a massive wreck occured. Penghardt collected Jr, Terry LeBonte, Betty, and most of the field. Steven Tark was offically leading, Mike Krintrip in 2nd, brother Ike Krintrip in 3rd, and Bob LeBonte in 4th, coming off turn 4 it became a 4 wide fight for the lead, when the crossed the finish line, it was a photo finish. The 4 cars were within centimeters of each other. Steven Tark was the winner of the race, Ike Krintrip finished 2nd above his brother Mike, who was 4th and Bob LeBonte took home 3rd. And since the rest of the field was practically obliterated, Penghardt finished 5th.
First Parts of Season
With a solid SPC 500 finish (Despite wrecking), Penghardt would go on and be consistent in his races, like he did in the 1999 season, but something was different, some extra speed had come forth now in PASCAR and it was once again the beginning of an era. Penghardt at this point gained a win by the 7th race of the season and maintained his speed, but Bob LeBonte had shown speed he hasn't had in a while. Bob LeBonte contended for more wins than Penghardt, and was able to lead in the points standings. Penghardt was second, and everybody was playing catch-up with LeBonte. Adding to that, Dale Jr would collect his second career win, and this time Dale Sr would be in victory lane with his son for the first time, and not in a hospital bed. It was a moment which brought a lot of tears to Sr.
Final Career Win
Penghardt was struggling to catch up with LeBonte and his pace was way more faster then Penghardt could've predicted, Penghardt wanted at least one more win this year, as this became his only goal, and they would arrive at Talledegee, the track where Penghardt got his first career win in 1989. But Penghardt struggled to show speed in practice and qualifying, as he qualified 32nd in the field. Mike Krintrip had gotten his 4th career pole of the season (he had clinched all his poles at superspeedways, because of this, this is his last pole of the season). At the beginning, Krintrip had a fast car, leading the first 10 laps and hanging around the top 5 for most of the race, Penghardt however, we still struggling with traffic, he had found his speed, but not the momentum needed to push ahead, he was 15th by lap 190 of 200. And suddenly, in the course of 5 laps with drafting help, Penghardt slingshotted up to 5th, and by lap 198, he was 2nd, and stole the lead on the last turn of the last lap, winning the race. After the race, celebrations lasted into the night, hoping they can clinch more wins.
Later Parts of Season
Despite the Penghardt's upset at Talladegee, it wasn't enough to close the gap that Bob LeBonte had set all season long. But he was still in contention until the controversial race at El Tora. It was 15 to go at the race, Penghardt was in the lead, and if race ended by then, Penghardt would be 20 points away from passing LeBonte in the standings. Unfortunately, LeBonte was in 2nd, he did something nobody expected. LeBonte "Tapped" Penghardt for the lead, he was spun around and 5 cars were involved in the wreck. Penghardt's championship hopes were smashed instantly and Bob LeBonte clinched his first career championship at 5 raves to go. In the final 5 races, Penghardt struggled to even lead 1 lap, but, he finished 2nd 5 times in a row. Which was a record until 2011, where Marty Pengx, Jr. would finish 2nd 7 races in a row.
In the 2001 SPC 500, Penghardt had a strong car all day. And for the majority of the race, he was in contention for the win. His son, Pale Jr., was racing by his side as well, with superspeedway pro and teammate Mike Krintrip. By the final lap, Krintrip was in first, with Jr in second and Sr (Penghardt) in third. Entering the final turn of the speedway, the fourth place car of Sparkling Bass hit the back bumper of his car, sending Penghardt loose and into the wall, also taking out fifth place Ken Schwartz. Penghardt hit the wall head on and hit his head on the steering wheel, causing a skull fracture and killing him instantly. While the two cars slid down all the way to the infield, a wheel popped off on Penghardt's car. Once the cars made a stop, Schwartz checked on Penghardt and then started signaling for help. Penghardt was immediately cut out from his car and taken to nearest hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Mike Krintrip became the winner of the event, but Penghardt's death overshadowed it.
In the aftermath of the crash, the PASCAR world was shaken. People from around the world poured support for the Penghardt family. As for Sparkling Bass, he was receiving hate mail from numerous fans, blaming him for Penghardt's death, he was banned from PASCAR until an investigation showed that he was not responsible for the crash. But hate mail still came in for him, then drivers Krintrip and Pale Jr. told fans "Not to blame Bass for Penghardt's death." Tensions soon subsided. Later in the 2001 season, they made safety adjustments to the cars, and made them mandatory in all teams to ensure driver safety.
Penghardt was a married man, but it wasn't the first time. Penghardt first married Lucy Chatbuck in 1978, she became the mother of Dale Penghardt Jr., and lesser known PASCAR driver Kenny Penghardt, as well as a daughter, Kendrick Motorsports consultant Maria Penghardt. They unfortunately divorced in 1985. Penghardt would soon find love again in Nikki Oswood, marrying her in 1989, the relationship would fall apart and they divorced in 1991. Penghardt would soon marry a third time in 1994 with Tamara Vincy. The marriage lasted until his death in 2001.
Penghardt was extremely open to fans, and even put up with fans who hates his guts. He was a great father to his 2 sons and his daughter, and lived quietly in his South Pole City apartment. His apartment is still owned under the Penghardt name.
Dale Penghardt Inc.
Dale Penghardt Inc, popularly known under the initials DPI, was a team that opened in 1994 and fielded drivers like champion Dale Penghardt Jr, champion Marty Pengx Jr, 5 time SPC 500 winner Mike Krintri., 3 time SPC 500 winner, 2016 McDonalds 500 winner, and 3 time championship runner up Steven Tark was part of this group as well. Also Pauly Menard, who won 5 career races over 3 years in the DPI team. After Penghardt's death in 2001, his wife took over. Unfortunately, she ran the team to the ground, treated her crew and her drivers, even her own stepson like a piece of crap, and had the team closed by 2007. It now serves as a glorified museum so his horrible evil wife can make money.
Dale Penghardt Jr.
Dale Penghardt Jr is, of course, Dale Sr's son. He put him through the ranks of the Penguin Mail Semi-Pro Series in 1993 (Since the Trucks didn't start until '96) and won on his first career start. Later on when he was 18 and allowed to race full time, he won titles in the Semi-Pro Series, and moved up to Cup. He would later on become a two time Cup champion, but only after leaving DEI due to the conditions of his evil stepmother. He currently drives for Kendrick Motorsports and owns the Truck/Semi-Pro team DPJR: Dale Penghardt Jr Racing, cleverly matching his initials.
Steven Tark was one of Dale Penghardt Sr's most successful prospects. He won the inaugural Snowtendo Truck Series title in 1996 and later on won a Penguin Mail title. He moved up to Cup full time and was highly successful. He unfortunately suffered injuries during the 2003 season, and was sidelined until the 2004 season, where he was traded mid season to RCR. He currently races in Kendrick Motorsports with Dale Jr.
Mike Krintrip is also one of Dale Sr's most successful prospects. Senior noticed him in local concrete track competition. He was picked up for DEI and began to show his speed, getting wins in Trucks, Semi-Pro, and Cup. Also with title success. He also won the 2001 SPC 500, and later on the 2003 SPC 500, and then three more in 2006, 2011, and 2014. He suffered injuries while dirt biking with friends during the 2016 season. He now currently runs part time for Orange Monster Racing for the plate tracks and is planned to run full time next season.
Marty Pengx Jr.
Marty was one of Dale Jr's drivers of interest, watching Marty win the PASCAR Pro Series East and West championship in 2003. Jr, instead of putting Marty into Penguin Mail Series and have him skip the Trucks. His performance in his rookie season was phenomenal, winning the 2004 Championship, and topping it with back to back championships in 2005. He would go on the start his rookie year in 2006 with the Cup series. He finished 10th in points and got Rookie of the Year honors. His best finish was 2nd. He would later go on the get his first career win in 2007, but unfortunately finished 15th in standings. And fell to 23rd in 2008, until he left the team for better equipment.
Pauly Menard was an interest driver to Dale Penghardt Sr, seeing him race in the Bennzoil Late Model Series, but Penghardt before he could get a contract offer. Soon, Dale Penghardt Jr, he now has 49% of the teams stake, took him in for the 2004 Snowtendo Truck Series season. He would spend two years in trucks, clinching 6 wins over two seasons and the 2005 Truck title. In 2006 he was quickly moved into the Penguin Mail Series. He got 2 wins in his rookie year and finished 5th in standings. In 2007, he would start his rookie season in Cup, also running Penguin Mail full time. He clinched the 2007 Penguin Mail Series championship winning 5 races, but finished 17th in Cup standings due to declining DPI cup equipment. After 2007 when Dale Jr left the team, Menard continued to run full time on Cup. He got his first career win at Talladegee, but only got 5 top 10s all season due to poor equipment. DPI would shut down after the 2008 and it's assets merged with another team.
Penghardt had a large following when he had passed, whether it was fans or haters, people stopped by the Richy Child Racing building and left a tiny shrine for him, fans leaving their hats and images of him. RCR took the shrine and preserved it on display in their race shop. Everyday before the crew sets out to go to the next race track, the crew take a flipper to remember Penghardt.
The first race after Penghardt Sr. had passed, Dale Jr. had a similarly frightening wreck on the first lap. In the end of the race, driver Steven Tark would make it two in a row for DPI by taking the win. He was tearful in the victory lane interview, saying that Penghardt "Was the only guy who gave me a chance, and I... I just thank him so much for giving me a ride, we miss you Dale!" and then proceeded to jump into the crowd of celebrating crew members.
It wouldn't stop there, shortly after the SPC 500, RCR needed a replacement for their #33 car, and they chose their Penguin Mail Series driver Kev Karvick. The car was renumbered to the #59 and Karvick would run his rookie season in the Peach Cup, along with running the Penguin Mail Series full time since he had made commitments. By the third race of the season, and it would be Karvick's second career start, he would win the race in a photo finish against Penghardt's rival Bob LeBonte. Fans went wild for the rookie Karvick and he would go to win one more race and take rookie of the year honors. He would also become the 2001 Penguin Mail Series champion.
Things had yet to stop as they came to the second race at SPC. The Kenworks 400 at SPC. It would be the first race at SPC since Penghardt's death. Kev Karvick lead most of the laps until a later caution at 30 to go lead to the DPI cars doing fuel strategy, putting Dale Jr, Mike Krintrip, Steven Tark, and Kev Karvick in the top 4. When the race restarted, Karvick was unable to gain any position, but he wasn't the fan favorite, they wanted Dale Jr to win this race. Mike and Steven pushed Dale Jr and kept him in the lead, Karvick would soon join in on the drafting, making them break away into a 4 car tandem. Finally, the words from ABC announcer Cal Bestwhick said "Coming off turn 4, the son of the late Dale Penghardt Sr, with help from teammates Krintrip, Tark, and Karvick, DPI WILL FINISH 1ST, 2ND, AND 3RD, AND RCR'S KARVICK FINISHES 4TH! DALE PENGHARDT JR HAS WON AT SPC!"
These words became legend. And the moments following it were also legend. The four cars had stacked up side by side, a massive group hug and celebration came between the four, they were celebrating for Jr and the team, and finally gave fans some peace. It was one of the most memorable moments in PASCAR history.
In SPC and Talladegee, big bronze statues were made in memory of Penghardt. In SPC, the first statue was showing his emotional win at the 1998 SPC 500. Over in Talladegee, a statue of Penghardt's amazing final career win was made.
Please help me on this part.
- He is based off Dale Earnhardt.