On October 15, 2000, he won his final race of his career, the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Earnhardt finished in the top ten of the Winston Cup points standings in 20 of his 22 complete NASCAR seasons. He set a record by winning nine races at Talladega, and he has 34 victories overall at Daytona...
Earnhardt was born on January 25, 1950 in Graham, North Carolina. He lived in Mooresville, North Carolina until he was 10 years old when his family moved to Neillsville, Wisconsin. The family later moved back to North Carolina where Dale grew up in Graham. He started racing go-karts at age 14. At 19 years old, he began working as a janitor at Phoenix Racing, which at the time was owned by his father Ralph Earnhardt. In 1972, Dale joined the team as an assistant mechanic. He worked his way up through the ranks and now earns $150,000 per year working for Hendrick Motorsports.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. died on August 28, 2001 after suffering brain damage due to oxygen deprivation during surgery. He was 51 years old. Dale Jr., who was driving his father's #3 Chevrolet at the time of his death, won the 2002 Chase for the Sprint Cup and went on to win the championship. He is the only son of a deceased driver to win the title.
After his father's death, Dale Jr. withdrew from competition for several months.
Over the course of his four-decade career, Earnhardt won 76 Winston Cup races, including four Winston 500s (1990, 1994, 1999, and 2000) and the 1998 Daytona 500. He also won seven Winston Cup titles, tying Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson for the most in a single season. His overall win record is even more impressive when you consider that he competed in only two seasons during the 1990s, when other drivers were running up to eight times per year.
During his career, Earnhardt suffered multiple injuries, which forced him to miss large portions of some seasons. He still managed to finish on the podium over 100 times, with 7 championships and 9 wins at the highest level of NASCAR proving why he's known as "The King".
Besides racing, Earnhardt worked as an analyst for ESPN after retiring from full-time racing in 2001. He died in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500, one of the most devastating losses in American sports history. He was 46 years old.
Earnhardt's wife, Teresa, is the daughter of former NASCAR driver Bill France. They had three children together: Kelly, Michael, and Jennifer. Jennifer became a successful tennis player who played on the WTA Tour, while her brother Michael became a driver too. He's currently serving as the sport's president.
Kelly married into the family business and is now involved in NASCAR racing too.
Talladega Superspeedway and draft racing are synonymous with the Earnhardts. Dale and Dale Jr. won a total of 16 NASCAR Cup Series races at the high-banked 2.66-mile Alabama course. Earnhardt Sr. has the most victories of any driver, with ten, while Dale Jr. is tied for second with six. The only other drivers with multiple wins are Richard Petty (19), Bill Elliott (10), and Jimmie Johnson (8).
Dale Earnhardt Jr. became the first driver to win three straight championships when he was named the winner of the 2010 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He joined Richard Petty as the only three-time winners in the history of the championship. Junior's father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., was also named champion after he finished second in the point standings to Terry Labonte. Junior's victory at California gave him his third consecutive title.
In addition to their NASCAR titles, the Earnhardts have four other series victories to their name. They made their debut on May 19, 1979, at Daytona International Speedway with a fourth-place finish behind Sterling Marlin, Donnie Allison, and Buddy Baker. They went on to take part in all but one race that season, finishing eighth in points out of twelve entrants.
The following year they had more success, winning five races and finishing as runners-up to Baker on points.
Earnhardt's 24 victories tie him for tenth place on the all-time series wins list. His two victories in 1998 and 1999 established him in NASCAR history, and his performances over the next decade cemented his spot. Earnhardt is one of only four drivers to win the first three races of their career (the others are Bill Elliott, Richard Petty, and Darrell Waltrip). He also is one of only three drivers to win a championship while working for Harry Hyde's team (the other ones being Petty and Waltrip).
In addition to his own team, Earnhardt has victories to his credit from Rick Hendrick, Dave Reid/Ricky Davis, Tom Sneva, Larry Phillips/Ken Schrader, and Steve Parkerson/Darrell Waltrip. He has been involved in some controversial incidents during his career, most notably a crash at The Winston that killed Ricky Taylor and an accident at Darlington that left Ernie Irvan paralyzed.
Earnhardt has won seven races at North Carolina Motor Speedway, more than any other driver. He has won six times between 1995 and 2000, and he finished second twice. His best season here was 1998 when he won nine races and the championship.
Earnhardt has won five straight races at Martinsville Speedway, the longest current streak in the series.
During his 1975–2001 career, the only circuits on which Dale Earnhardt did not win a Winston Cup race were:
He won the Daytona 500 for the first time. On February 15, 1998, racing legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. finally won his first Daytona 500, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) season opening and called the "Super Bowl of stock car racing," after 20 years of attempting. He was driving his black No. 3 Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. The event was also broadcast live on NBC.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is currently driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing, continues to run in some races with his father's old helmet number (3) because it has his name on it. However, he has never won a race himself.
In addition to his work in NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Sr. has won seven championships in various other forms of auto racing including the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions in 1994, where he beat out 752 competitors to take home $1 million.
He has also won 18 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway which is more than any other driver.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash during the 2001 season opener for all three of NASCAR's top series. He is considered one of the best drivers of all time by many fans and experts outside of NASCAR. Within the world of stock car racing, he is regarded as one of the most popular drivers ever due to his aggressive style of driving and extensive history of winning races and championships.