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 Ralph Lee Earnhardt

Ralph Lee Earnhardt

Birth
Kannapolis, Cabarrus County, North Carolina, USA
Death 26 Sep 1973 (aged 45)
Kannapolis, Cabarrus County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Kannapolis, Cabarrus County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 6168327 · View Source
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Race Car Driver. Born in Kannapolis, North Carolina to John Henderson and Effie Mae Earnhardt. The family were part of the farming community and on leaving school Ralph worked in one of the cotton mills for several years. The wages and conditions were poor and one of the ways to get out of the situation was to race. He started his racing career on dirt tracks where he was famous for keeping his car in top condition throughout each race and was the first car builder/drivers to understand and use tire stagger. During his later teens he began to build cars in the family garage. In 1953, at the age of twenty five Ralph turned professional and began his quintessential career, making a huge impression in the world of racing very quickly. His first race in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series took place in November, 1956 when he finished second to Speedy Thompson in the Grand National now known as the Sprint Cup Series at Hickory Speedway, North Carolina. Also in 1956, he won his first Nascar Sportsman title, a year in which he gained 32 victories. Over his career, he held track championships at seven different venues. The year of 1961 saw Ralph have his highest finish in the Grand National point standings, at 17th, and also saw him filling in for Cotton Owens as a relief driver in the Daytona 500, covering more than 300 miles and finishing in 5th place. His awards include:- Ralph was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1989, the same weekend that Dale Sr. won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama, in 1997 and, along with his son Dale Sr., was named as one of Nascar's "50 Greatest Drivers". During the 1998 celebration of Nascar's 50th Anniversary, in 2004 Ralph was an inductee in the Oceanside Rotary Club of Daytona Beach Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame and inductee in the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in 2007. Ralph died of a heart attack at the age of 45.

Bio by: Shock


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson
  • Added: 10 Feb 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6168327
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ralph Lee Earnhardt (23 Feb 1928–26 Sep 1973), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6168327, citing Center Grove Lutheran Cemetery, Kannapolis, Cabarrus County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .