Description1996 Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Daytona 500 Race Worn Uniform. Certainly one of the most significant and desirable artifacts from the realm of American motorsports is presented here for your consideration, the uniform worn by The Intimidator on the very track where he would lose his life in a last-lap crash five years later. While the elder Earnhardt had long been considered a leading figure upon the NASCAR circuit prior to his tragic and untimely death, his sudden loss has served to elevate him to true iconic status among the millions of racing fans who followed his twenty-seven year career, and to make him a household name even among those who never watched a single lap in their lives.
Dale Senior had to settle for second place at the 1996 Daytona 500, unable to pass the legendary Dale Jarrett to take the checkered flag. After the race, a relieved Jarrett announced to reporters, "The last lap was close to 500 miles itself. I'd rather look in the mirror and see anybody but that number 3 car back there." It would be the fourth second-place finish for Earnhardt at the storied Florida racetrack, the best he would realize until finally crossing the line first at the 1998 event. "It's Daytona," Earnhardt explained as Jarrett celebrated. "We just didn't have enough. Our car was super all day, but those Fords were super, too."
The unmistakable jumpsuit Earnhardt was wearing that February 1996 day on Florida's east coast is dominated with logos of "GM Goodwrench," Earnhardt's lead sponsor, with a constellation of smaller patches including Snap-On, Food City, Goodyear and McDonalds scattered nearby. Fabric wear is apparent at the surfaces where the G-forces directed the most friction, particularly in the seat of the uniform and the backs of the legs. A mysterious markered code inside the zipper path of the chest reads an apparent "JAPPA 96." A flawless black sharpie signature on the right chest adds the final bit of appeal to this picture perfect specimen.
Impeccable provenance is delivered as well, in the form of four letters that trace the history of the uniform. These include two 1996 letters from Earnhardt's general counsel detailing their donation of this uniform to a charitable organization, a letter from that charity to the winning bidder of the charity auction, and a letter from that winning bidder himself. The result is a piece that should serve as a centerpiece for the finest of private racing collections. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication (autograph).
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