Preliminary autopsy report on Dale Earnhardt

By Motorsport.com staff DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- According to a preliminary autopsy report released Monday evening, Dale Earnhardt suffered blunt force trauma to the head and neck. The 49 year old driver died from a severe fracture to the base ...

Preliminary autopsy report on Dale Earnhardt
Listen to this article

By Motorsport.com staff

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- According to a preliminary autopsy report released Monday evening, Dale Earnhardt suffered blunt force trauma to the head and neck. The 49 year old driver died from a severe fracture to the base of his skull that caused bruising and bleeding to the soft tissue in his brain.

He also broke eight ribs, his left ankle and his breastbone. There were several scrapes on his body. He had blood in his ears and chest and partially collapsed lungs.

The report will not be finalized for several weeks, following completion of blood tests.

The seven-time Winston Cup champion was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center at 5:16 p.m. EST after his car hit the outside wall at an estimated 180 mph in the final turn of the Daytona 500. At a press conference Monday morning, Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron said that the autopsy showed Earnhardt was killed as soon as he collided with the racetrack wall.

The report shows that the fatal skull fracture circled the base of Earnhardt's skull, extending from the bottom of the skull to the sides. There was a significant amount of internal bleeding at the base of his brain. He had blood in his ears and mild brain swelling from the skull fracture.

In the past year, four NASCAR drivers have died from basal skull fractures: Dale Earnhardt, Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin and Tony Roper. They are caused by violent head movement in which large blood vessels at the base of the skull are torn, creating immediate and severe blood loss.

shares
comments
Dale Earnhardt tribute from Control Racing
Previous article

Dale Earnhardt tribute from Control Racing

Next article

Statement from Teresa Earnhardt

Statement from Teresa Earnhardt
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021