* The default name on this ring is Waltrip and number 15.
The 2001 Daytona 500, the 43rd running of the event, was the first race of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule. It took place on February 18, 2001 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida over 200 laps on the 2.5 mile (4 km) asphalt tri-oval. The race was the first ever Winston Cup telecast shown by the Fox network, which had received broadcasting rights along with NBC at the end of the previous season, replacing the two former NASCAR broadcasters CBS and ESPN. Bill Elliott won the pole and Michael Waltrip, in his first race in the #15 NAPA Auto Parts-sponsored car for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., won the race. This was the 1st Winston Cup victory of his career, coming in his 463rd start after 462 races without a win. His teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished 2nd and Rusty Wallace finished 3rd.
In the race's final lap, a major accident was triggered by 1998 Daytona 500 winner and 7-time series champion Dale Earnhardt losing control of his car and collecting Ken Schrader in a head-on collision with the retaining wall. 3 cars were involved in the crash, which resulted in the Earnhardt's death. The race was also marred by an 18-car pileup on lap 173 when Robby Gordon made contact with Ward Burton, sending Tony Stewart flipping twice down the backstretch. After Earnhardt's death (as well as other notable deaths of other drivers in other NASCAR national touring series in the previous season), NASCAR implemented rigorous safety improvements in later seasons.