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NASCAR Legend – Dale Earnhardt Jr
The most popular driver in NASCAR for five consecutive years, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. he is the only third-generation champion in the sport. Like many of today’s young riders, racing is in his blood.
His grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, won the 1956 NASCAR Sportsmen’s Championship, and his father, Dale Sr. he followed in his footsteps and was a seven-time Cup champion, winning 76 races. Both Ralph and Dale Sr. have been named among NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All Time. Now Dale Jr. has made a name for himself in the world of racing and already has 17 victories in his less than 10-year career. The three Earnhardts combined to win 10 NASCAR championships.
Dale Jr. was born in Kannapolis, NC and did not begin his racing career until the age of 17. It was then that he joined the competition in the Street Stock division at Concord Motorsport Park. It didn’t take him long to develop his driving skills and take them to the next level. He competed in the Late Model Stock Car division for two seasons. He then played in the Nationwide Series, bringing home back-to-back championships in ’98 and ’99. In 2000 Jr. he went full-time to the Winston Cup Series and competed with his father and half-brother Kerry in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan. It was a milestone in NASCAR history, only the second time a father raced against two sons. Lee, Richard and Maurice Petty were the first to achieve this feat.
2001 was a year for Dale Jr. emotional year. His father suffered a serious crash in the final lap of the Daytona 500 in Turn 4. Jr. was the first to rush to his father’s side after the wreck, but Earnhardt Sr. did not survive. . Jr. he tried to bounce back the next week at Rockingham, but finished 43rd. However, he returned to winning ways that year at Dover and Talladega and took an emotional victory in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, where he had lost his father earlier that year. He managed to finish in 8th place.
In 2004, he won the Jr. Daytona 500. It was six years to the day after his father won the “Great American Race.” But this year wasn’t all fun and games for young Earnhardt. During off-weekend training, Jr. suffered a crash at Infineon Raceway. His car went off course, hit a concrete barrier and burst into flames. Jr. he suffered second- and third-degree burns to his neck, chin and legs, which prevented him from completing two races. Martin Truex Jr. had to replace him halfway through the races. and John Andretti. In the fall of 2004, Jr. back in business and became the first driver to complete a weekend at Bristol and win both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races.
In 2002, Jr. decided to expand his talents outside the seat of his racing car. He founded his own company, JR Motorsports. It consisted of only 6 employees and a Camaro that raced on local short tracks. Since then, JRM has grown to over 100 employees and now has several cars competing in the Nationwide Series and other local late-season divisions.
In May 2007 Jr. announced that he would be leaving his father’s company, DEI, to join the Hendrick Motorsports team. He said his decision was based solely on the desire to progress in the sport and achieve the sprint championship. He wouldn’t bring his #8 or the Budweiser sponsor he was so well known for. However, he brought his cousin and crew chief Tony Eury, Jr. It didn’t take long for Jr. went his own way and his fans followed the #88 Mountain dew AMP/National Guard Chevrolet without question.
In July 2007, Dale JR Motorsports merged with Hendrick Motorsports to run two full-time nationwide teams with HMS engines, chassis and technology. Outside of the racing field, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. owns Hammerhead Entertainment, the company that produces the television shows “Back In the Day” on SPEED and “Shifting Gears” on ESPN2. He is also involved in the new track project. Alabama Motorsports Park is located near Mobile and will have racecars and go-karts, as well as a road course.
One of his latest ventures is a bar called “Whiskey River” in downtown Charlotte, NC. This versatile kid actually owns a candy store called Big Mo’ and recently started his own Navy recruiting division called Dale Jr. Division. His sister Kelley, with whom he is very close, owns a real estate company called DEJ Realty Inc. with him. The 2008 season marks the junior’s ninth season in the NASCAR Cup Series and through 2007 he has earned over $46 million in career winnings.
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