Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 29 April 1951Kannapolis, North Carolina, USA
Date of Death 18 February 2001Daytona Beach, Florida, USA  (auto race crash)
Birth NameRalph Dale Earnhardt
Nicknames The Intimidator
Man In Black, Big E
Mr. Chevrolet
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Ralph Dale Earnhardt, born April 29, 1951, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, was the son of NASCAR Grand National champion Ralph Earnhardt and his wife Martha. His Winston Cup career started with a bang, winning the Rookie of the Year in 1979 and his first of his championships in 1980, to date the only driver to achieve these feats in consecutive years. Three years later, Dale appeared with other NASCAR drivers and personalities in the Burt Reynolds/Loni Anderson racing comedy "Stroker Ace". Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that the film's climax race used actual race footage from Talladega with close-ups being shot at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Shortly after winning the Daytona 500 on February 15, 1998, he went to film his second and final movie, "BASEketeball". This film star other sports luminaries as well as racing commentator Kenny Mayne. As is the trend in recent years, drivers become car owners. Dale was no exception. For 2001, he expanded his operation to three cars with the addition of Michael Waltrip. Also driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., were Steve Park and his son, Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Jr. On February 18, 2001, in the closing laps of the 43rd running of the Daytona 500, Dale ran third behind two of his cars, driven by Waltrip and Dale, Jr. On the last lap, as those cars went on to win 1-2, Dale was killed in a multi-car crash on the 4th turn. In his 22-year career he won 22 poles, 76 races and 7 Championships on NASCAR's premier circuit.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John B. Mentzer, jbmentzer@yahoo.com

Born in Kannapolis, North Carolina in 1951 (for many years he claimed he'd been born in 1952) Ralph Dale Earnhardt was the most controversial competitor in the history of motorsports, who transcended this controversy to become an icon in racing. Taking after his father, Carolina short tracker Ralph Earnhardt, Dale raced in the late 1960s and the 1970s on area short tracks and made occassional Winston Cup Grand National starts during the 1970s - including a particularly nasty encounter at Atlanta in 1976 where he rammed a sliding Dick Brooks and tumbled viciously through the track's third and fourth turns.

Earnhardt was hired by California businessman Rod Osterlund to drive his #2 racecars in the 1979 Winston Cup Grand National season; he won at Bristol, TN and despite missing four races due to injury in a vicious crash at Pocono, PA, he won the top rookie title of that season, then followed up with the 1980 Grand National championship. Osterlund's team folded in mid-1981 and Earnhardt drifted somewhat, winning three races for Bud Moore, before joining Richard Childress Racing, a team he'd driven ten races for in 1981.

With RCR, Earnhardt suddenly became a truly powerful force, but along the way his roughhousing style of racing led to numerous multicar crashes. Among the more infamous incidents occurred at Richmond, VA in 1986 when he hooked Darrell Waltrip head-on into the third-turn guardrail with a few laps to go, a wreck that wiped out five cars. "I don't think NASCAR fined Dale Earnhardt for what he did at Richmond, I think they fined him for all the things he's done leading up to Richmond," Waltrip said afterward.

Earnhardt never changed, and his instigational style of racing even led to a disapproving news piece on ABC's World News Tonight in 1987, a rarity for the sport at the time. Earnhardt spent many years as the most booed driver in the sport. But in the 1990s it began changing. His style didn't change - he was involved in no fewer than six ugly incidents during 1993, including a nasty tumble for Rusty Wallace and a multicar wreck that took out Al Unser Jr. and others at Daytona - but as the decade progressed the booing began to disappear. The rise of Wallace and younger drivers like Jeff Gordon - whose own style of racing, including detonating crashes, directly took off from Earnhardt's - began to harden fan support for Earnhardt, even after more controversial cheap-shot incidents such as with Bobby Hamilton at Rockingham in 1996.

Earnhardt won seven Winston Cup titles, tying 'Richard Petty' for the most in the sport's history, but his quest for an eighth title became more and more difficult as the 1990s progressed, and his focus appeared to shift as the decade went on; he began to show some of the Hollywood angles openly displayed by his close racing buddy Tim Richmond in the 1980s, taking in a growing number of film and TV appearences unrelated to racing weekends, and his marketing of himself became almost bigger than his racing - "Dale Earnhardt can deny it, but the T-shirt sales and the souvenirs are more important than the race team," Earnhardt's former engine builder Lou Larosa commented in the 1990s. "Where is the incentive when you're making $4 million racing and $40 million selling souvenirs?" Also helping Earnhardt's popularity was that he was winning less and less, and when he did win it became a major news story; no win was more such than his last, the 2000 Autumn 500 at Talladega, which was the only time Earnhardt won Winston's big 5 bonus of $1 million.

Earnhardt was killed at Daytona in 2001, in uncharacteristic circumstances - he was not racing for a win, but blocking off other cars so his son, Dale Junior, and friend Michael Waltrip could finish 1-2 in the 500; Earnhardt was drop-kicked by Sterling Marlin and hit the wall in Four; his lapbelt broke and his head struck the steering wheel, killing him.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Daly

Spouse (3)

Teresa Earnhardt (14 November 1982 - 18 February 2001) (his death) (1 child)
Brenda Gee (6 February 1972 - 1 May 1979) (divorced) (2 children)
Latane Brown (1968 - 12 January 1972) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

Intense driving style, was well known for bumping fellow racers, and intentionally spun-out several competitors
Open faced helmet, black sunglasses and mustache

Trivia (23)

Won seven NASCAR Winston Cup Championships and 76 races, including the 1998 Daytona 500. Drove the #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
Professional stock-car racer.
Is tied with NASCAR legend Richard Petty, with seven Nascar Championships.
Filmed his role in BASEketball (1998) just days after winning his first (and only) Daytona 500.
One of the most popular figures in NASCAR racing.
Tried 19 times before finally winning the Daytona 500
Son Dale Earnhardt Jr. also drives in the NASCAR Winston Cup [now Nextel Cup] Series.
Won 76 career Winston Cup races from 1979 thru 2000.
Owned the cars driven by Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr., which finished 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the race in which he died.
U2's The Edge wore a shirt, donning the number 3, to the 2001 Grammy Awards as a tribute to Dale Earnhardt. [February 2001]
Earnhardt was the #1 most searched term on Lycos.com the week of February 18-24, 2001 - the first man (and only the second person) ever to top the list since its inception.
He has 4 children: Kerry Earnhardt (who is a Busch series driver), Kelley Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who is a Winston Cup Driver) and Taylor Nicole Earnhardt.
During the caution (yellow flag) laps, used to bump NASCAR Pace Car Driver Elmo Langley, just for fun.
First Win: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee, 1979 Last Win: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama, 2000
Father-in-law of NASCAR Nextel Cup Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge, who is currently working with Ganassi Racing's Target Car and Casey Mears.
Although he was sometimes called "Mr. Chevrolet", many of his fans don't know (or talk about) that he actually drove a Ford Thunderbird for famed car owner Bud Moore during the 1982 and 1983 seasons.
In his final win on 15 October 2000 at Talladega Superspeedway, Earnhardt was in 18th place with five laps remaining. "Dale's Big Rally" to win was ranked #13 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Most Awesome Sports Moments (of the last 15 years)". [17 July 2005 issue]
Dale was close friends with fellow NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace.
Was posthumously awarded the "Most Popular Driver" Award in 2001. Driver Bill Elliott "retired" himself so Earnhardt could win it.
Hated the restrictor plates added onto the motors of the stock cars to slow them down when they raced in Daytona and Talladega.
Has a memorial statue erected in his memory at the Daytona USA museum.
Grandfather of Jeffrey Earnhardt.
Inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2006.

Personal Quotes (2)

A winner is someone who refuses to lose; never mind who's got the fastest car.
[on not winning the 1995 Daytona 500] I ain't never won the Daytona 500 before and I ain't going to Disney World neither.

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