When Earnhardt finally won the Daytona 500 in 1998, every man from every crew came to congratulate him.
This is a story that had a happy ending for both NASCAR's biggest name and a 6-year-old girl from Kentucky.
Going into NASCAR's 50th season in 1998, Dale Earnhardt was 0-for-19 in The Great American Race, the season-opening Daytona 500. Everything imaginable had happened to him to keep him from winning NASCAR's biggest prize. Last-lap passes, engine failures, crashes…it was as if the gods of racing planned to keep him down for the duration of his career.
Meanwhile, 6-year-old Wessa Miller was an Earnhardt fan with spina bifida, a condition where the spinal cord is malformed and without the protective soft tissue and skeletal coverings. She had to use a wheelchair to get around.
Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Miller's family was able to make a trip to meet Dale Earnhardt in Daytona for the 500. Miller had a gift for Earnhardt, one that she believed would give him a little luck: A penny.
Following their meeting, Earnhardt took some glue that was normally used by the tire changers during pit stops and glued Wessa's penny to the dashboard. He would go on to win the Daytona 500.
Earnhardt tried to keep the penny with him, as he wanted that eighth title, but the penny ultimately stayed in the car, where it remains to this day in the Richard Childress Racing Museum.