The Earnhardt's, a Family that Races
important things in my life are
Perhaps even more important to Dale Jr. than winning races is winning
the respect of his father
Those who know him say a warmhearted man lies underneath the elder Earnhardt's crust. After talking with him awhile, it's easy to believe this. "I do care what people think about me," he says softly. "It goes back to what advice my dad gave me and how he was raised and tried to raise me: When you leave here, all you're gonna have is your name and your word. If that's not any good, then you're not much good. ... I want to be remembered as much for that as for being a great racer -- being a good father, for one, but also a fair person in life, fair to other people." Which is not to say his fervor for racing is any less strong today than ever. It isn't.
"My dad is the reason I am in this sport and he's someone I have always looked up to, not only as my dad but as a great race car driver," - Earnhardt Jr.
"I suppose growing up with the Earnhardt name, I could have been a spoiled brat, but I wasn't, I don't think my dad would have put up with that anyway. You start at Dale Earnhardt Inc. by sweeping floors and shoveling out the horse barn. I was no exception." - Earnhardt Jr.
Coca-Cola Classic is delivering the hottest father and son duo in NASCAR to racing fans. Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race head-to-head for the first time at the Coca-Cola 500 in Motegi, Japan on Nov. 22. To mark this historic event, both Earnhardts will drive special Coca-Cola race cars. (Story-Nascar Online)
Dale Earnhardt Sr. will drive the #3 Coca Cola Classic car
The name EARNHARDT will be around for a while!
NASCAR Family: The Earnhardt's
Teresa, Dale and Taylor Nicole
Dale Jr. Wins the Coca Cola 300
Dale Earnhardt choked up again Saturday. (SpeedWorld)
It made the Earnhardt family a three-generation winner on the circuit and it proved that 23-year-old Dale Jr. can carry on the tradition begun by grandfather Ralph Earnhardt and continued by his father.
"I don't really think about that
(carrying on the family racing name)," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I'm just so proud of my family and real proud to be involved with
my father in racing and be a driver for him. It's a good relationship we have. Winning
with this team in front of my father ... It's important to me. I'm proud of my father and
grandfather and what they've done. I'm just glad I'm able to be successful at it,
"That was about like watching Dale win the Daytona 500. I was up in the middle of the floor, walking back and forth, crying. I was a nervous wreck. I thought it was his father himself in that car driving. He's just amazing. It takes a special kid to do that.'' - Martha Earnhardt, Dale Jr's Grandmother, who was watching the Texas race on television from the living room of her home in Kannapolis.
Martha Earnhardt: A royal matriarch of racing
We now have three Generations of Legendary Earnhardt
He no longer thunders through turn four with dust swirling, nor
speeds down the front straightaway passing everyone to take the checkered flag, but those
who knew Ralph Earnhardt can see him still.
He was the epitome of a race car driver.
Ralph Lee Earnhardt was born February 23, 1928, in Kannapolis North Carolina. It was from there, in a garage behind his home that he began his life's work - building race cars for himself and others. But more importantly, he drove these cars to hundreds of wins and countless State and track championships. He won the NASCAR Sportsman Championship in 1956, finished in the top ten of the NASCAR National Sportsman point standings six years and finished 17th in the NASCAR Grand National (now Winston Cup) point standings in 1961.
Ralph Earnhardt "Mr. Consistency," preferred to race four to five times per week near his home rather than endure the hassle of traveling far from home, wife and children. He did, however, drive over 50 races in the Grand National (now Winston Cup) circuit for such renowned car builders as Cotton Owens and Lee Petty.
He was an innovator. He utilized tire stagger when no one else even knew what it was, built "bite" into his race cars and installed crash bars in the driver door for driver protection, undoubtedly saving many lives. Ralph never had to work on his car at a race track. He would just change tires, go out, and beat everyone. According to Ned Jarrett, "Ralph Earnhardt was absolutely the toughest race driver I ever raced against. On the dirt and asphalt short tracks in Sportsman competition, when you went to the track you knew he was the man to beat."
Ralph Earnhardt, the quintessential race driver whose career spanned 23 years of competition in NASCAR Modified, Sportsman and Grand National series, won more than 350 NASCAR races and never looked back.
Ralph Earnhardt passed away, from a heart attack, on September 26, 1973, at the age of 45.
In 1989, Ralph Earnhardt was inducted in the
National Motorsports Press Association's
Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
He was inducted into the
International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega Ala., in 1997.
This year along with 49 other drivers including
his son, Dale,
Ralph Earnhardt was named as one of NASCAR's "50 Greatest Drivers".
Dale Earnhardt, on racin' with his Dad.
(From Dale's interview with the National Press Club)
"I didn't really get the opportunity to race against my dad but one or two times in my career, and most of it was in practice and stuff. But, the one time I did race with him, was at a dirt track, and I was racing the six-cylinder division, and the were sort in the Sportsman's Race that night. So, the -- the promoter at the track said "okay, the top five in the -- the six-cylinder division tonight can line up in the Sportsmen tonight, and run the Sportsman Race after the six-cylinder race.''
So, we did. I lined up second -- I ran second in my race, so I lined up second. And I was racing the same guy that I had raced, trying to win, all night long. And here comes my dad, leading the race, and he comes up behind us, and he just falls in racing with us, you know? And I was watching, trying to get out of his way, and he kept getting in behind me, and I couldn't figure out what he was doing. Finally, he started bumping me around, so I finally, I said I better hold this thing straight down the straightaway anyway.
So I got it straight down the straightaway, and he pushed me by this guy. (Laughter.) And I beat the guy, and then Daddy drove on past me. (Laughter.) The guy protested that the race was fixed, 'cause Daddy helped me pass him. And I ran third in Sportsman's Race that night, as a matter of fact, so he felt like it was rigged. So, I got one exciting time racing with my daddy, and it was pretty neat to do that."
"I would have liked to have done more of it."
"I would give it all back if I
could have my Dad back"
- Dale Earnhardt -