In 1975, this ambitious racer started his career with the ‘Winston Cup’ in the longest race, the ‘World 600’. He made his first appearance at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina as a professional racer.
In 1978, he got his big break into racing for the ‘World 600 Cup’ in Charlotte. He had replaced another driver finishing seventh in the ‘Firecracker 400’ race which finally got him noticed for his talent.
The following year he joined the Rod Osterlund Racing for a rookie season, winning a race in Bristol and finishing 7th in the standings.
He had a new chief, Doug Richert, in his sophomore season when he went on to win several races in Atlanta, Bristol, Nashville and Charlotte.
In 1981, he finished 7th in the Richard Childress Racing for the season. For the following two years he struggled and had the worst time of his career. Finally he had win at the ‘Daytona 500’ two years later.
In 1984 he won six times in several cities and finished eight and fourth in the races at Martinsville. The following year he also won few races.
In 1986, he won his second ‘Winston Cup Championship’ following it up with winning five races and finishing in top 5 and top 10. He had now set the ‘NASCAR’ record for the modern era.
In 1988, he raced with a new sponsor called ‘GM Goodwrench’ and this season he earned a new nickname ‘The Man in Black’. This year he won 3 times and the following year he won five times.
In 1990, he won at the ‘Busch Clash’ and ‘Gatorade Twin 125s’. This season of ‘Daytona 500’, he won nine races and another ‘Winston Cup’.
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He won his next ‘Winston Cup’ in 1991 scoring 195 points with just four wins.
He just won once at the ‘Coca-Cola 600’ at Charlotte and was at a career low with 12th in the points in 1992. The same year he hired Andy Petree as the new crew chief and now was close to winning the ‘Daytona 500’ once again. He scored six wins and won another ‘Winston Cup’.
In 1994, he won another ‘Winston Cup’ and won the title with 400 more points. This was also his last NASCAR championship.
In 1995, he won five races at the ‘Daytona 500’ finishing up at the fifth place this season.
In 1996, he was dominating the Speedweeks but eventually finished second in the ‘Dayton 500’. He followed these up by winning in Rockingham and Atlanta. This season he suffered a major accident at the ‘DieHard 500’ race in Talladega.
Refusing to lose hope due to his accident he was seen the following week itself in Indianapolis. Although he was leading, he finally lost as he grew tired due to his physical injuries.
In 1997, he did not win any race. However, the following year he finally won the ‘Daytona 500’.
In 2000, he scored two wins at Atlanta and came second at races in Richmond and Martinsville.
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Awards & Achievements
In the year 1979 Earnhardt won his first award, the ‘Winston Cup Series’ ‘Rookie of the Year’.
He was the ‘Champion of the Winston Cup Series in the year 1980 and won the title for the second time seven years later.
During the years 1986-1993 he won the Coca-Cola 600 title three times.
From 1990 to 1994, he bagged the Championship at the Winston Cup Series consecutively.
He was the IROC champion four times from the year 1990- 2000.
In 2001 he won the title of ‘Winston Cup Series Most Popular Driver’. The following year he was inducted in the ‘Motorsports Hall of Fame of America’.
He became the inductee of ‘International Motorsports Hall of Fame’ in 2006 and the ‘NASCAR Hall of Fame’ in 2010.
Personal Life & Legacy
Earnhardt was just seventeen when he married his first wife Latane Brown in the year 1968. The couple had a son named Kerry Earnhardt. However, the couple divorced in the four years later.
The very next year after his divorce, in 1971, he married his second wife Brenda Gee. The couple had two children named Kelley King and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
He divorced Brenda and married his third and last wife Teresa Houston in 1982. He had another daughter with her named Taylor Nicole.
Earnhardt died at the age of 49 in an accident during the ‘Daytona 500’. After the accident an autopsy confirmed that he had died due to the trauma to his head