|Dale Jr. at Atlanta - March 2015|
credit: Charlotte Bray/Skirts & Scuffs
Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the reigning Most Popular Driver in NASCAR’s top series – a title he’s held for 12 straight years (2003-2014) – and the reigning championship team owner in the Xfinity Series with driver Chase Elliott. Get the updated Fast Facts on this third generation driver, who was originally profiled on Skirts & Scuffs in May 2011.
- Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. was born Oct. 10, 1974. He is the grandson of NASCAR driver Ralph Earnhardt and son of seven-time Cup Series champ Dale Earnhardt. Other family members in racing include half-brother Kerry Earnhardt, sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller, nephew Jeffrey Earnhardt and niece Karsyn Elledge.
- Earnhardt Jr. started competing in Street Stocks at Concord (NC) Motorsports Park at age 17, moving up to the Late Model Stock Car division in two years, where he competed against Kerry and Kelley. During this time he also earned an associates’ degree in Automotive Technology from Mitchell Community College.
- After running a handful of Busch (now Xfinity) Series races in 1996 and 1997, Earnhardt Jr. competed full-time in the series for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 1998 and 1999, winning the championship both seasons.
- In 2000, Earnhardt Jr. moved up to the Cup Series full-time with DEI, earning his first win at Texas in April; he finished second to Matt Kenseth for Raybestos Rookie of the Year. His sophomore season got off to a tumultuous start as he lost his father in the last-lap accident in the Daytona 500 in Feb. 2001. In July of that year, he returned to Daytona to take an emotional victory at the Pepsi 400. He returned to victory lane at Daytona in Feb. 2004 in the Daytona 500.
- Earnhardt Jr. raced for Dale Earnhardt Inc. until the end of the 2007 season, joining Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 88 Chevrolet in 2008. With DEI, Earnhardt Jr. picked up 17 wins over eight full-time seasons; since joining Hendrick Motorsports, he has added six checkered flags to his resume through the 2014 season, including a second win in the Daytona 500 in 2014.
- Earnhardt Jr. owns JR Motorsports, which competes in the Xfinity Series, with sister Kelley and Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick. The team fields full-time rides for Chase Elliott and Regan Smith, plus a third car for drivers Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Ben Rhodes and Earnhardt Jr. himself. Beginning in 2015, JR Motorsports also fields a part-time Camping World Truck Series team for driver Cole Custer.
- Find out more about Dale Earnhardt Jr. at www.dalejr.com.