As of 2015, 46 drivers have died during a NASCAR race, including Dale Earnhardt, Carlos Pardo, Tony Roper, Don Williams and Larry Smith. Other fatalities have occurred during qualifiers and practice laps on NASCAR tracks, including Ricky Knotts, Rick Baldwin, Kenny Irwin Jr. and Adam Petty.
Dale Earnhardt, seven-time Winston Cup champion, died Feb. 18, 2001, in a crash into the wall on the final lap of the Daytona 500. As of October 2015, Earnhardt is the last driver to die during a race at NASCAR's highest level. His death led to NASCAR making efforts to improving the safety of its cars and tracks. Carlos Pardo, who died June 14, 2009, is the most recent driver to have died during a NASCAR race at any level. Pardo died after being pushed into a wall in the final laps of a NASCAR Mexico race.
Adam Petty, grandson of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, died May 12, 2000, in a practice session for the Busch 200 at New Hampshire. Ricky Knotts died Feb. 14, 1980, during a qualifying race for the Daytona 500. Ricky Baldwin crashed June 14, 1986, during a qualifying lap at the Michigan International Speedway; he was in a decade-long coma and passed away June 12, 1997.