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NASCAR rides crest of tragedy's wake

Updated: April 6, 2001, 8:04 PM ET
By Wayne Drehs | ESPN.com

When Dale Earnhardt tragically died on the final lap of the Daytona 500 in February, some wondered how NASCAR would go on without its leader, one of the most recognizable figures in all of sports.

They suggested that without the black No. 3 Chevrolet laying rubber on tracks around the country, the future of the sport would be bleak.

They couldn't have been more wrong.

Seven weeks since the death of the racing legend, NASCAR's popularity is soaring. Its national television ...

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