Ralph Dale Earnhardt was born April 29th, 1951 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Being a racecar driver is in the blood of any Earnhardt, Ralph Earnhardt Sr., father of Dale, was also a racecar driver and this inspired Dale so much that at age 15 he dropped out of school to become a full time mechanic and driver. Ralph Earnhardt passes away in 1973 of a heart attack and this prompted Dale to build his own stock car that finished 22nd in the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in his debut as a stock car driver.
This attracted attention to his future place as one of the world’s elite stock car drivers. In 1979 Rod Osterlund gave Dale his first tryout for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and signed his very first full time contract. He won his first NASCAR race in Southeastern 500 in Bristol, Tennessee and broke the record for the most money earned by a rookie drive. This of course led to his prestigious Rookie of the Year Award that basically set the standard for the racer he would become.
Dale’s Sophomore year as a NASCAR driver was only the beginning of the incredible career he would make for himself. Winning the Winston Cup Championship and setting another record by becoming the only driver in history to win Rookie of the Year and a NASCAR season points championship the following year.
Several more years with Osterlund built up the driver he would become and his career was launched into action when he joined the Chevrolet team in 1984. Gaining a reputation as being an aggressive driver, Dale was given a warning from the NASCAR big dogs and soon after that Dale cleaned up his recklessness and started to play nice with the other drivers on the circuit.
Dale Earnhardt is no doubt the king of stock car racing, winning seven Winston Cup Championships and tying Richard Petty for the most career titles in NASCAR history. Throughout his career he broke just about every record for earnings, races, and championships. He was truly the greatest racecar driver that the sport has ever seen and possibly will ever see. The one triumph that eluded Dale throughout his career was that he never won a Daytona 500 and in February of 1998 he finally took the checkered flag after missing it several times before by the thinnest margins imaginable.
He died on February 18, 2001, after crashing his stock car on the last turn of the last lap of the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt set the standard for what stock car racing has become this day in age and will never be forgotten by adoring fans and fellow drivers. His untimely death was a tragedy that in turn catapulted the sport into the mainstream and still remains there today. Dale Earnhardt’s triumph on the track will live in infamy in the world of stock car racing.
Dale Earnhardt – Wikipedia.org
Dale Earnhardt Biography – Dale Earnhardt.net