Dale Earnhardt, Sr

Dale Earnhardt, Sr

Original Name Ralph Dale Earnhardt
Kannapolis, Cabarrus County, North Carolina, USA
Death 18 Feb 2001 (aged 49)
Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida, USA
Burial Mooresville, Iredell County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 20861 · View Source
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Auto Race Car Driver. Born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, to Ralph Lee Earnhardt, who was then one of the best short-track drivers in North Carolina, as a young man he would not be persuaded to give up his dream of racing, and dropped out of school to race. In May 1975, he made his stock car racing debut, finishing 22nd in the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In 1978, his racing caught the attention of Rod Osterlund, a racing sponsor based in California. After a tryout, he was signed to his first full-time Winston Cup contract as Osterlund's only sponsored driver in 1979. That year, Dale Earnhardt racked up his first win on the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Nascar circuit at the Southeastern 500 in Bristol, Tennessee. By the end of the racing season, he had become the first driver to win over $200,000 in his rookie year; he was rewarded with Nascar's prestigious Rookie of the Year honors. The next year proved to be even bigger for him, as he won his first NASCAR season points championship, or Winston Cup Championship, barely edging out the veteran driver Cale Yarborough. With the win, he became the first driver ever to win Rookie of the Year and the season championship back-to-back. When he joined Richard Childress' Chevrolet team in 1984, is career began to flourish, beginning with five wins and a second Winston Cup Championship in 1986. The next year saw Earnhardt's best results yet, as he won 11 races and a third championship title, finishing in the top five in 21 out of 29 races. Despite his undeniable success, Dale Earnhardt earned a reputation early on for recklessness. Known as "the Intimidator," he was particularly prone to aggressively bumping other drivers out of the way in order to take the lead in a particularly close race. After a warning from the president of NASCAR in 1987, he began developing better relationships with other drivers on the circuit. The 1988 season saw him racing with a new sponsor, GM Goodwrench, which replaced Wrangler Jeans. During this season Dale Earnhardt garnered a second nickname, "The Man in Black", owing to the black paint scheme in which the No. 3 car was painted. On February 18, 2001, in the closing laps of the 43rd running of the Daytona 500, he ran third behind two of his cars, driven by Michael Waltrip and his son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. On the last lap, as those cars went on to win 1-2, he was killed in a multi-car crash on the 4th turn. In his 22-year career he won 22 poles, 76 races and 7 Championships on Nascar's premier circuit. The effect that Dale Earnhardt's death had on motorsports and the media frenzy that followed not only in the United States, but all over the world were both massive. Auto racing had not experienced a death of this magnitude since that of Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna in 1994. Senna was regarded as highly in Formula One as Earnhardt was in NASCAR; he won the Talladega race in 1994 on the day that Senna was killed, and in victory lane he expressed his sorrow for the Senna family. NASCAR implemented rigorous safety improvements, such as making the HANS device mandatory. His son, Dale Earnhardt Jr, became a champion auto race car driver as well.

Bio by: Shock

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 20 Mar 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial 20861
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dale Earnhardt, Sr (29 Apr 1951–18 Feb 2001), Find a Grave Memorial no. 20861, citing Earnhardt Estate, Mooresville, Iredell County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .