Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Bieber Parties with Hailey, Kate Links Up with Nina: Go Behind-the-Scenes of the Star-Studded Parties at Super Bowl 50
- Read the Cover Story: Amy Duggar King: I'm Doing It My Way
- 'Just Sayin!': Matt Damon Pokes Fun at Fellow Oscar Nominee Leonardo DiCaprio and The Revenant's Brutal Shoot
- Joey Feek Is Keeping Her Daughters 'Close to Her Heart' as She Continues to Remain in Hospice
- It's Not a Super Bowl Party Without Chicken Wings
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- March 12, 2001
- Vol. 55
- No. 10
A Matter of Pride
One Week After Dale Earnhardt's Death, His Son and Namesake Returns to the Races
Never more so than in the days after Daytona, when Dale Jr. exhibited a grace beyond his years. "I miss my father, and I've cried for him," he told reporters two days after the funeral in Kannapolis, N.C. "I just try to...remember that he's in a better place." The following Sunday Dale Jr. climbed into his red No. 8 Chevy Monte Carlo and carried on the family tradition at the North Carolina Speedway. Incredibly, on the very first lap he was bumped from behind and spun head-on into a concrete wall, an accident frighteningly reminiscent of the crash that killed his father. The son, however, walked away with only bruises and vowed to race again. "The past week we've seen a much more mature Dale Jr.," says a member of his racing team. "Being that Junior's so strong helps a lot of us."
Partial to baggy pants, backwards caps and rap, he is—save for racing—no chip off the crusty old block. "He just enjoys hanging out and playing video games," says his pal Josh Snider, 22, one of a small pack of friends who get together in Dale Jr.'s three-bedroom house in Mooresville, N.C. Born to Dale Sr. and his second wife, Brenda, who divorced when their son was 3, Dale Jr. and his father grew closer than ever in recent years, thanks to racing. After Dale Jr. won his first Winston Cup event in April 2000, the Intimidator, as his hard-driving father was known, ran from his own car, crushed his son in a bear hug and said through tears, "I love you."
So it was that Dale Jr. returned to the track so soon after the man he called Daddy had died. "He's still a kid," says NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, 29. "It's got to be devastating to go through something so unexpected and so huge. Probably the best thing for him is to get in that race car so he can just drive." After a memorial that saw fans in the stands and pit crews join hands in prayer, Dale Jr. did just that, albeit briefly. (Steve Park, also driving a car owned by Earnhardt Sr.'s company, won the rain-delayed race the next day.)
On his own now, Dale Jr. seems ready for the challenge. Never again, though he might wish he could, will he make the mistake he made at last year's all-star Winston race near Charlotte, where he heard the crowd cheering wildly and turned to look for his father. Only then did he realize that the cheering was for him.
Don Sider and Michaele Ballard in Rockingham and Nancy Wilstach in Kannapolis and Mooresville
- Don Sider,
- Michaele Ballard,
- Nancy Wilstach.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!