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Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Related Biography: Winston Cup Driver Neil Bonnett

Neil Bonnett of Hueyville, Alabama, was born in 1946. He worked as a pipe fitter in high-rise construction before entering the race car circuit. After driving for Butch Nelson in 1972, Bonnett joined the Winston Cup circuit in 1974, winning his first event in 1977 and taking a total of eighteen Winston Cup races during his career.

Despite shattering his leg in a crash in Charlotte in 1987, Bonnett returned to the circuit three months later with a plate in his hip. In 1988 he won three races, but he crashed again in 1989 and broke his sternum. A crash at Darlington in 1990 left Bonnett with severe amnesia and effectively ended his career.

Bonnett and Earnhardt were close friends, and it was the memory of bagging a prize buck with Earnhardt that snapped Bonnett from the amnesia. Recovered, he retired from auto racing to become a color commentator and host of his own show on The Nashville Network (TNN).

Like Earnhardt, Bonnett earned a reputation for no-holds-barred auto racing, and in 1993 he opted to return to the Winston Cup circuit. After testing some Monte Carlos for Childress, he was set to race at Talladega on July 25. He crashed that day, but walked away unhurt. After scheduling a fiverace farewell tour, Bonnett crashed and died on February 11, 1994, at the fourth turn at Daytona, while practicing for the first race of his farewell tour.

On July 12, 1993, just months before his own death, it was Bonnett who pulled Davey Allison from the wreckage of a helicopter crash that caused Allison's death. Bonnett was inducted into the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

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Famous Sports StarsAuto RacingDale Earnhardt Sr. Biography - What Makes A Champ?, Guts Make A Champ, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Death At Daytona