Dale Earnhardt, Sr. affectionately known as, “The Intimidator” was born on April 29, 1951. The seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion was a force to be reckoned with on the track. Dale earned the title, of seven-time Winston Cup NASCAR Champion after winning the title in the years of 1980, ‘86, '87, '90, '91, ’93, ’94, and 2000. The father of four was certainly a major act to top, yet two sons follow in the footsteps of their legendary dad. Both of Earnhardt's sons, Kerry and Dale Jr. (called "Little E") have taken up careers in racing.

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. got his first taste for the sport by watching his father, Ralph Earnhardt, race during his earlier years. Ralph Earnhardt won the 1956 NASCAR Sportsman Division title in racing, but never had the opportunity to watch his son race, as he passed away in 1973, two years before Dale’s racing debut. He fell victim to a fatal heart attack, while working on his racecar. Dale Earnhardt started his racing career in 1975, on May 25, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway finishing 22nd at the World 600. Four years later, in 1979 he won the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Championship. His first NASCAR Championship came in 1980; he would secure six more for good measure. Besides the seven Winston Cup Championships, Dale also finished 2nd in total Winston Cup points in 1989 and 1995.

With impressive racing statistics under his belt, he also topped the league with winnings totaling over $30,000.000.00 in the year 1997. His career winnings would far exceed the $30,000, 000.00 mark. These winnings would exceed any other motor sports driver whether NASCAR, Indy or Sprint Cars. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. is the first driver in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series history who ever won the Rookie Title of the Year one year and followed that year to win his first Championship in the same series.

Earnhardt's first win came on April 1, 1979 at the Bristol, Tennessee raceway track. Even though the win was special, nothing could ever compare to the feat of winning the Daytona 500 after 20 years of competing in the Championship. With the race televised "Big E" had finally realized his dream. Every member from all the other crews formed a line in route to Victory Lane. They waited there to congratulate the driver of the #3 car as he made his way to the Winner's Circle.

On Sunday, February 18, 2001, in Daytona Beach, Florida, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. waved to the crowd, and climbed into Number 3, for the last time unbeknownst to him or the cheering crowd. On the track, his son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was in car Number 8. They would briefly run together near the end of the 43rd Daytona 500 Championship. A few laps later, with a half-mile and a few seconds left in the race, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. became a historic legend and an immortal warrior.

Dale was married to Teresa, his third wife, where they resided on a farm in the state of North Carolina. In his free time, he often enjoyed the great outdoors. He loved to spend time on the farm, by hunting, fishing and watching the Atlanta Braves baseball team play.

No matter when or where he raced, "The Intimidator" had legions of fans to cheer him on. Among those fans were his own children: Kerry, Kelly King, Dale Jr. and Taylor Nicole. Dale Earnhardt was a mentor to his son, and also ran Dale Earnhardt, Inc., which owned cars for Dale, Jr. and 2001 Daytona 500 Champion Michael Waltrip's car. Dale Earnhardt’s very first car, though embarrassed to admit was a far cry from the well-known GM Good-wrench colors. Instead of the typical majestic black our hero rode in pink! Without a doubt, such humble beginnings would make any father proud. I’m sure that he and his father Ralph have much to share, from their heavenly gaze.


© 2001 jaye@jayepurplewolf.com