Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was a race car driver and team owner. At the time of his death in 2001, he was worth $70 million. Dale Earnhardt raced in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1975 to 2001. Dale Earnhardt drove his father’s car in a race without anyone knowing about it.
He almost won against one of his father’s biggest rivals. In 1972, he raced against his father in a Semi-Mod and Sportsman Division race at Metrolina Speedway. Ralph didn’t want his son to be a race car driver, but Dale dropped out of school to do what he wanted.
Dale Earnhardt Early life
Dale Earnhardt was born in North Carolina in 1951. He was the third child of Martha and Ralph. His father was one of the best drivers on the short tracks of the state, and in 1956 he won the NASCAR Sportsman Championship. Earnhardt drove his father’s car in one of his races when he was only 12 years old.
Although his father advised him against it, Earnhardt dropped out of school to become a race car driver. Tragedy struck in 1973 when his father died of a heart attack.
Earnhardt’s first job was in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1975. He competed in eight more races until he retired in 1979.
|Born On||29 April 1951|
|Died||18 February 2001|
|Net Worth||$70 million|
|dale Earnhardt born||Kannapolis North Carolina|
Dale Earnhardt Early Success In NASCAR
Earnhardt joined Rod Osterlund Racing in 1979. In his first season, he won a race at Bristol, finished in the top five or ten 11 times, and in the top ten 17 times.
He finished seventh in the points standings. That’s why he received the Rookie of the Year award. The next season, Earnhardt won a number of races, including the Busch Clash, and captured his first Winston Cup championship.
Earnhardt married his first wife, Latane Brown when he was 17. They had a son, Kerry, and then separated in 1970. The following year, Earnhardt married Brenda Gee, whose father, Robert Gee, built cars.
They had two children, Kelley and Dale Jr., and separated in 1974. Earnhardt married his third and final wife, Teresa Houston, in 1982. In 1988, their daughter Taylor was born.
In 2000, Earnhardt had two of his most exciting races. At Atlanta, he won by just 0.010 seconds, and at Talladega, he made up 17 spots in the final four laps to win. But in the end, he couldn’t win another championship title.
Earnhardt’s final season was in 2001, which was very sad. In February, he died in a three-car accident on the final lap of the Daytona 500. When his car and the car of Ken Schrader collided, both went off the track and landed in the grass of the infield.
Dale Earnhardt Awards
In 1994, North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt awarded him the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inducted him as a member in 1994.
In 1998, Earnhardt was named one of NASCAR’s top 50 drivers.
In 2001, after Earnhardt died, he was named “NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver.” He received the award only that one time.
A year after his death, in 2002, he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
What Happened In The Accident That Killed Earnhardt?
Earnhardt was the tail gunner for his Dale Earnhardt, Inc. team’s cars as they raced on the final lap of the race to stop any late runs by the chasers.
As the cars raced through turns 3 and 4 on that final, fateful lap, Earnhardt maintained his rough-and-tumble style that has been his trademark.
As he threw his final block, Earnhardt’s left rear corner hit the right front fender of Sterling Marlin, freeing the latter’s car. Earnhardt struggled to maintain control. His car hit the apron, which shook him even more. He then began to spin clockwise, heading up the track and into the path of Rusty Wallace and Ken Schrader, who were close behind.
Schrader’s left front corner hit Earnhardt’s right rear corner, causing Earnhardt’s car to tilt even more before crashing into the unprotected concrete.
Five days after the accident, NASCAR officials told reporters that Earnhardt’s left lap belt had snapped on his seat belt.
NASCAR’s medical expert, Dr. Steve Bohannon, said he thought Earnhardt’s fractured skull was caused by his chin hitting the steering wheel because of the broken belt. People began to think Earnhardt might have survived if his seat belt hadn’t snapped.
When the first paramedics arrived on the scene, they said Earnhardt’s seat belts had been loose. However, when the seat belts were unfastened to get Earnhardt out of the car, the lap belt was not torn or cut. But the NASCAR investigation found that each of the EMTs who helped Earnhardt after the crash said that the harness buckle was off-center by 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm), which couldn’t have happened if the lap belt hadn’t broken. A later medical investigation showed that Earnhardt’s death was not caused by his belt breaking in a big way.