2001 Season

NASCAR source confirms date of Earnhardt report

(August 9, 2001)
NASCAR will release its report on the crash that killed Dale Earnhardt on Aug. 21 and experts who took part in the investigation will be present to answer questions.

A NASCAR source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed on Thursday the news conference will be held in Atlanta at a site still to be determined.

Earnhardt was killed in a last-lap crash during the Feb. 18 Daytona 500 and NASCAR hired experts to do an in-depth investigation. NASCAR president Mike Helton has said as many as 54 people have been working on the report.

The source said the investigation has helped NASCAR develop a computer model of the Earnhardt crash. The report will also include information from the investigations into the deaths of Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin Jr. and Tony Roper.

Among other things, the report is expected to address whether a lap belt was torn, as NASCAR officials have said, and if that contributed to Earnhardt's death. The question has lingered since Earnhardt's widow, Teresa Earnhardt, won a court order sealing the autopsy photos.

A court-appointed medical examiner viewed the photos and said the violent whipping motion of Earnhardt's head was the reason for the driver's death.

Circuit Judge Joseph Will ruled in June that sealing the photos was constitutional. The Independent Florida Alligator and a Florida web site have challenged that decision in an attempt to obtain the photos.

The Orlando Sentinel challenged an injunction keeping the photos sealed, but later reached an agreement with Teresa Earnhardt to have an independent expert examine them.


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