When the black No. 3 Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo crashed into a concrete wall at the Daytona 500, the dealer community also lost one of its own.

Dale Earnhardt, 49, who died in that crash, made the most of his NASCAR earnings by investing in many businesses, not the least of which was Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet in Mooresville, NC.

In a 1998 interview with Ward's Dealer Business, Mr. Earnhardt showed his true dealer colors. “Sometimes we can't get enough product to sell,” he said.

He acknowledged that his fame probably helped bring people into his store. “We probably get some fans coming in, but we work hard on product sales and servicing.”

Known as the Intimidator in racing circles, Mr. Earnhardt's work ethic led him to 76 NASCAR race victories and seven Winston Cup championships. A Daytona 500 victory had long eluded him — until he won that famous race in 1998.

“All of us at Chevrolet and General Motors are truly saddened by the passing of Dale Earnhardt,” says Kurt Ritter, marketing general manager at Chevrolet.