|Name:||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Occupation:||Race Car Driver|
|Birth Day:||October 10, 1974|
|Birth Place:||Kannapolis, United States|
|#1||Kerry Earnhardt||Brother||$8 Million (Approx.)||N/A||51||Race Car Driver|
|#2||Isla Rose Earnhardt||Children||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#3||Dale Earnhardt||Father||$70 Million||N/A||49||Race Car Driver|
|#4||Ralph Earnhardt||Grandfather||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||45||Race Car Driver|
|#5||Brenda Lorraine Gee||Mother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#7||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Nephew||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||31||Race Car Driver|
|#10||Karsyn Elledge||Niece||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||20||Celebrity Family Member|
|#11||Taylor Nicole Earnhardt||Sister||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#12||Kelley Earnhardt Miller||Sister||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||48||Celebrity Family Member|
|#13||Amy Reimann||Spouse||N/A||N/A||38||Celebrity Family Member|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He went into his first race with a car he co-owned with his half brother Kerry.
Earnhardt Jr. attended the high performance driving school run by Andy Hillenburg and began his racing career at the late age of 17 with his father, competing in the Street Stock division at Concord, North Carolina's Motorsport Park. His first race car was a 1979 Monte Carlo that he co-owned with Kerry. By age 19, after two seasons of driving Street Stock Division, Earnhardt Jr. had honed his driving abilities to the point of joining the Late Model Stock Car Division. He competed on the North and South Carolina short tracks driving a No. 3 Buick. While he did run various tracks during this time, Earnhardt Jr. primarily focused his efforts at the Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina and the East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville, North Carolina, where he captured the pole for the Greenville Merchants 300 on October 28, 1994. There, he developed an in-depth knowledge of chassis setup and car preparation, while racing against his siblings. He worked at his father's dealership as a mechanic while he went to Mitchell Community College to earn an associate degree in automotive technology.
Earnhardt Jr. ran nine Busch Series races between 1996 and 1997 for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Ed Whitaker, respectively, before driving for his father's team in the Busch Series full-time in 1998, in which he started the season with an amazing blow over after contact with Dick Trickle and Buckshot Jones at Daytona, on the same weekend that his father had his first and only Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt won consecutive NASCAR Busch Series Championships in 1998 and 1999 barely edging Matt Kenseth. In 1998, he made his first start in the Winston Cup Series, at the exhibition race held at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. Also in 1999, he drove in five Winston Cup races in the No. 8 Budweiser-sponsored Chevrolet for DEI in preparation for a full-time Cup Series ride in 2000, with his best finish being a tenth-place finish at Richmond in the fall race.
On top of his 26 career Sprint Cup regular season victories, Earnhardt has also won 9 exhibition races. He won the 2003, 2004, 2008, 2015, and 2016 Budweiser Duels, the 2000 Sprint All Star Race, the 2003 and 2008 Budweiser Shootout and the 2012 Sprint Showdown. He finished 2nd in the 1999 IROC race from Michigan International Speedway, barely losing to his father. In 1998, he was one of a select few of drivers invited to race in the NASCAR Thunder/Motegi 500 in Motegi, Japan. He achieved a 6th-place finish in this overseas race.
The 2000 season was Earnhardt's breakout year in the Winston Cup Series. He competed for the Raybestos NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award in 2000. His primary competitor for the award was Matt Kenseth. Kenseth outran Earnhardt in the season-opening Daytona 500. Earnhardt scored his first win in the DirecTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, breaking the record held by his father Earnhardt Sr. for fewest starts by a driver to earn his first victory in NASCAR's "modern era" by winning in his 12th start, and also at Richmond International Raceway. He became the first rookie to win The Winston.
Earnhardt played a part in recreating one Winston Cup milestone in 2000 when he competed with his father and half-brother Kerry in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway. That occasion was only the second time that a father had raced against two sons – Lee Petty and his two sons Richard and Maurice had previously accomplished the feat.
In 2001, the major event of the season occurred on February 18, in the final corner of the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. As Earnhardt Jr. and his teammate Michael Waltrip raced to the finish line, he finished second to Waltrip. His father had crashed in turn 4 after Sterling Marlin made contact with his left rear bumper. Earnhardt Sr. shot up the track into the outside wall behind Waltrip and his son and collected Ken Schrader in the process. Earnhardt Sr. was pronounced dead at 5:16 pm due to a basilar skull fracture.
Earnhardt is a longtime opponent of the modern display of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events. He wrote in his 2001 autobiography Driver #8 about his experience being asked about the flag in a Q&A at Richmond International Raceway (now Richmond Raceway) the previous year. "I think it means something different to me than it does to y'all..." he responded. He has distanced himself from race fans who display the flag, explaining, "It never really was me." In 2006, Earnhardt told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports: "We live in a country where you can speak freely and do as you may. I don't know (if) what that flag stands for is the same for me as it is the guy who might have it flying out there. I am not going to agree with everything everybody does all my life. So I don't have any control over it." Following the Charleston church shooting in 2015, Earnhardt told reporters: "I think it's offensive to an entire race. It does nothing for anybody to be there flying, so I don't see any reason. It belongs in the history books and that's about it."
In 2002, Earnhardt Jr. had a roller-coaster season. He struggled after enduring a concussion from a head-on collision to the outside wall at the California race in April – an injury he did not admit to until mid-September. In the three races following California, he finished no better than 30th. However, Earnhardt Jr. rallied to sweep both Talladega races (leading a dominating 133 of 188 laps in the spring race), a pair of Bud Pole Awards and an 11th-place finish in the points standings with 11 Top 5's and 16 Top 10's.
In 2003, Earnhardt Jr. became a true title contender, scoring a record-breaking fourth consecutive win at Talladega, after being involved in a 27-car crash on lap 4. He struggled for most of the race, and was at points a half-lap down, only catching back up to the pack through a caution. The win was controversial because with five laps to go, it appeared that Earnhardt went below the yellow line to gain position, but NASCAR ruled that Matt Kenseth had forced him below the line, making it a clean pass.
In 2003, Earnhardt and his stepmother Teresa founded Chance 2 Motorsports. The company was able to hire Martin Truex Jr. to drive in the 2004 Busch Series season. Truex would go on to win the 2004 and 2005 Busch Series Championships. The company would later endure financial struggles and go out of business in 2006.
In 2004, Earnhardt won the Daytona 500, six years to the day after his father won his only title in the Great American Race (and 3 years after his father was killed in the 2001 race). Earnhardt came very close to sweeping Speedweeks, as in addition to the Daytona 500, he also won his Gatorade Duel and the Busch Series race. However, he finished 2nd in the Budweiser Shootout to Dale Jarrett.
Earnhardt was able to qualify for the NASCAR 10-race playoff, and had his 5th NEXTEL Cup win of the season (a career high) at Talladega. However, he was penalized 25 points for use of an obscenity during the television broadcast, in violation of a new NASCAR rule prohibiting participants from using obscene language (the rule had been created the week after the Daytona 500, in the wake of the Super Bowl half-time show controversy). That incident, combined with two consecutive DNF's in the Chase, eventually dropped him out of the running, and he finished fifth in the 2004 NEXTEL Cup Chase despite a career-high 6 wins at Daytona, Atlanta, Richmond, Bristol, Talladega and defending his fall win at Phoenix (though under the non-Chase points system, Earnhardt would have tied his third-place points finish of the previous year). He closed off the 2004 season with 6 wins, sixteen Top 5s, and twenty-one Top 10 finishes. He also picked up his 2nd consecutive Most Popular Driver Award.
In a 2004 interview with Mike Wallace (not fellow competitor) on 60 Minutes, Earnhardt revealed himself to be a Republican and a supporter of President George W. Bush. Despite this, he took his crew out to see the film Fahrenheit 9/11 earlier that year, explaining, "I like hearing both sides of the argument. I thought the movie was well done. But my dad was a Republican, and I'm a Republican, and so [it's] not that I came out of there going, 'I ain't voting for Bush again.' That didn't happen, and I didn't expect that to happen. I just wanted to go and enjoy the movie."
At the close of the 2004 season, it was revealed that Tony Eury Sr. would be promoted to the team manager position for the DEI corporation, while Tony Eury Jr. became the crew chief for Michael Waltrip for the 2005 season. Peter Rondeau, a Chance 2 employee who also helped Earnhardt win the Busch Series race at Bristol in August, became the crew chief for Earnhardt in 2005. Rondeau served as Earnhardt's crew chief until the Coca-Cola 600 weekend, when he was replaced with DEI chief engineer Steve Hmiel, who helped Earnhardt score his lone win of 2005 at Chicagoland in July, when he took the lead from Matt Kenseth on the last cycle of pit stops. Earnhardt was eliminated from any possible competition for the NEXTEL Cup championship after suffering an engine failure at the California Speedway. Earnhardt was reunited with his cousin, Tony Eury Jr., after the fall Richmond weekend, and results improved immediately. Earnhardt finished the season 19th in points. For the 3rd straight year, he took home the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award.
Earnhardt's proficiency as a car owner continued. His race team outside of DEI, JR Motorsports, in 2005 fielded a car in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series, winning once and qualifying for the Four Champions playoff. Mark McFarland moved to the Busch Series in 2006, driving the No. 88 JR Motorsports US Navy Chevrolet, with Richard Childress Racing providing assistance; however, he was fired before the fall Michigan race, the Carfax 250. He was replaced by Robby Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. for the rest of the year. Long-time short track racer Shane Huffman drove Earnhardt's USAR Hooters ProCup car in 2006. In 2006, during the spring weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Earnhardt and other DEI drivers drove with special black paint schemes on their cars, reminiscent of his late father's famous No. 3 paint scheme. On Father's Day in 2006, he drove a vintage Budweiser car at Michigan International Speedway to honor both his grandfather (Ralph Earnhardt) and his father, who at one point in both their careers used the No. 8 car. After rain caused the race to be ended early, Earnhardt finished 3rd with Kasey Kahne winning the race. After 17 races in the 2006 season, Earnhardt sat 3rd in the championship standings with 1 win, coming at Richmond in May 2006.
During the race at New Hampshire, he experienced the second engine failure of his 2006 season, ultimately leading to a 43rd-place finish. Following New Hampshire was the race at Pocono, where he was running in the middle of the pack when he crashed in turn 2. These two events catapulted him to 11th in the points standing, out of the Chase for the Cup. At Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Earnhardt and his crew made a critical decision to stay out on the final pit stop to get a much needed Top 10 finish to move him up to 10th in the points. He made the 2006 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup after finishing 17th in the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 9, 2006. He came close to winning at Talladega, and was leading on the last lap when Brian Vickers made contact with Earnhardt's future teammate Jimmie Johnson, sending Johnson into Earnhardt and spinning both of them out. His points position going into the Chase was 6th. He finished the season 5th in the point standings, 147 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
He was featured in the video Playboy: Celebrity Photographers (2003) where he photographed The Dahm Triplets. He appeared in the 2006 film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. In the movie, he is seen asking Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) for his autograph, and tells Ricky "don't tell any of the other drivers." There is also a deleted scene on the DVD where he calls Ricky a "dirty liar" and asks him for money he owed him. The No. 8 car also appeared in Herbie: Fully Loaded in the final race where Herbie overtook him. His No. 88 car also appeared in the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon as Roadbuster of the Wreckers, a trio of NASCAR stock cars equipped with armor on the front that can transform into heavy artillery tanks (the other Wreckers were based on the No. 42 and No. 48 cars driven respectively by Juan Pablo Montoya and Jimmie Johnson). The Wrecker versions of these cars circled the track during the opening pace laps of the 2011 Daytona 500 (Josh Duhamel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Michael Bay were also the grand marshals for that race, in which Earnhardt crashed on lap 203 after making contact with Ryan Newman).
Earnhardt began the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season by finishing 32nd at the Daytona 500 as the result of a late race crash. His first Top 10 came at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City 500, where he finished 7th. His first Top 5 came at Martinsville Speedway in the Goody's Cool Orange 500. He led 136 laps and finished 5th. He collected his third Top 10 of the season and his 8th at Talladega Superspeedway with his 7th-place performance in the 2007 Aaron's 499. On May 14, 2007, he was docked 100 driver championship points, car owner Teresa Earnhardt was docked 100 owner points, and his crew chief, Tony Eury Jr., was fined $100,000 and suspended for 6 races due to the use of illegal mounting brackets used to attach the wing to his car. During the April race at Texas Motor Speedway he drove the last 10 laps in the No. 5 car of Kyle Busch owned by Rick Hendrick.
On May 27, 2007, Earnhardt rode a camouflage No. 8 car in the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day to raise money for the families of military troops. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Ward Burton, Denny Hamlin, Casey Mears, Shane Huffman and Bill Elliott also changed their paint schemes for the occasion. He finished eighth, after leading with seven laps to go, but he had to pit for fuel and Casey Mears finished with the win.
On August 5, 2007, Earnhardt earned his first pole position in a race since 2002 at Pocono Raceway. Although Kurt Busch won the race, Earnhardt had a dramatic comeback to finish 2nd after spinning out and experiencing shock troubles. Earnhardt led for eight laps before Busch took over. On August 12 at Watkins Glen International, Earnhardt was making the push into the Top 12 of the Nextel Cup standings from his No. 13 position. After being at the No. 2 position during the race, Earnhardt had engine problems on lap 64 and had to end his race day. After the Glen, he tried furiously to reach the 12th spot in standings. However, a resurgence by Kurt Busch and a blown engine during the final race at Richmond ended his Chase hopes. That was his last chance to participate for the Championship at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI). After the 2007 season, Dale Jr. won the NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award for the 5th consecutive time.
After much speculation, Earnhardt announced on May 10, 2007, that he would leave Dale Earnhardt Inc., the company founded by his father, to drive for another team in 2008. Earnhardt expressed that his decision was based entirely on his desires to achieve his career goal of a Sprint Cup Championship, and his apparent belief that he would not be able to attain that objective while driving for DEI. He said that unless he could gain majority ownership, and therefore control, of DEI, that he was not confident in the organization's ability to field the elite level equipment that would yield the elusive title.
On June 13, 2007, he announced at a press conference that he had signed a five-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Kyle Busch. At the time, Hendrick consisted of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Casey Mears. One month later on July 13, 2007, it was announced that his long-time primary sponsor Budweiser would not be with Earnhardt when he made the move to Hendrick. Other contractual agreements in place at Hendrick Motorsports are said to have prevented a relationship with Bud. Due to a previous friendship between team owner Rick Hendrick and Earnhardt's father, Earnhardt later said that going to drive for Hendrick almost felt like driving for a second family team.
On August 15, 2007, it was announced that Earnhardt would not be taking his familiar No. 8 with him to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. His late grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, used that number, while Earnhardt picked it when he entered the Cup Series in 1999. His father also used No. 8 early in his career. Earnhardt Jr. blamed his stepmother for not allowing the No. 8 to move with him to Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt said negotiations broke down when Teresa Earnhardt asked for part of the licensing revenue, along with wanting the number back after he retired. (The No. 8 team, after a successful season in 2008 with co-drivers Mark Martin and Aric Almirola, would end up being shut down in 2009 after DEI's merger with Ganassi Racing.)
Earnhardt moved to the No. 88 car with Tony Eury Jr. coming to Hendrick to remain as his crew chief. On September 19, 2007, the official announcement was made that Earnhardt would be driving the No. 88 Mountain Dew AMP/National Guard Chevrolet Impala for the 2008 season.
He hosted Back in the Day, a show that recapped races from the 1960s and 1970s with trivia and information. The show debuted on the Speed Channel on February 6, 2007. He has also appeared in an episode of the TV show Yes, Dear. He has also been on two episodes of MTV Cribs. The first episode originally aired in 2001. The second episode featuring the Western town Earnhardt built originally aired in 2009. His production company Hammerhead Entertainment also assisted in creating a DirecTV special called "Fast Lane For Fun", in which Earnhardt's Whisky River was shown in one episode. In 2010, he appeared in an episode of Shaq Vs., where he was racing against Shaquille O'Neal. In 2013 Earnhardt made an appearance on the show Fast N' Loud where he requested Richard Rawlings from Gas Monkey Garage to build him a custom-built car for a road trip vacation. He has a home renovation show for the DIY Network called "Renovation Realities: Dale Jr. and Amy". He later voiced Chip Racerson Jr. in one episode of the 2013 animated series Teen Titans Go! called "Teen Titans Vroom!" In 2020, Earnhardt hosted Lost Speedways, a television documentary series that saw him travel to and explore abandoned racetracks across the country.
In the following weeks, Earnhardt would bring a string of Top 10s: 10th at Texas, 7th at Kansas, 2nd at Richmond, and 9th at Talladega, where he led 10 laps. The following week, Earnhardt struggled for most of the race at Darlington, and had to settle with a 17th-place finish. At the All-Star Race, Earnhardt won the Sprint Showdown, leading all 40 laps to race his way into the big event. In the event, Earnhardt won the 4th segment and in the final 10 lap shootout, had to settle for a 5th-place finish. The following two weeks, Earnhardt would post of finishes of 6th at Charlotte and 4th at Dover heading into the summer months. At the newly repaved Pocono Raceway, Earnhardt led 36 laps during the race, but made a late race fuel pit stop from 3rd place with just over 20 laps to go, finishing 8th and standing 2nd in points. At the 2012 Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan, Earnhardt dominated the race, leading 95 laps, and won, snapping a 143-race winless streak, almost four years to the day after his last win on June 15, 2008. Earnhardt would suffer a 23rd-place finish at Sonoma after being wrecked in a green-white-checkered finish, but was still able to cross the finish line intact and on the lead lap, continuing his streak of being the only driver to finish all races on the lead lap. He would back this up with a fourth-place finish in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
Earnhardt's poor performance continued as he finished 40th at the Coca-Cola 600 due to an ill-handling race car, after which Tony Eury Jr. was fired as his crew chief on May 28, 2009. Lance McGrew was named interim crew chief starting with the June 2009 race at Pocono, with team manager Brian Whitesell calling the shots at Dover the previous week. Earnhardt finished 12th at Dover for the Autism Speaks 400 with McGrew as his crew chief after contending for the lead. At Pocono Raceway, however, he again ended with a 27th-place finish. Earnhardt improved thereafter following the change, finishing fifteenth at Chicagoland Speedway, though he had one DNF at Daytona International Speedway after being taken out of the race early in a large pileup.
In January 2009, Earnhardt expressed enthusiasm following President Barack Obama's inauguration: "I'm as excited as everybody else is about him. I wish I had been able to go to the inauguration. I would love to meet him. That would be a great honor."
On February 6, 2010, Earnhardt qualified second overall for the 52nd Daytona 500 after losing the pole position to teammate Mark Martin. He started 1st in the Gatorade Duel No. 2 on February 11 of that year. He finished 11th in the 2010 Budweiser Shootout after struggling with an ill-handling car for most of the race.
On February 13, 2010, while running in the front of the pack at the Daytona Nationwide Series race, Earnhardt was caught up in a multi-car wreck, causing his car to flip upside down on the backstretch. He walked away from the wreck uninjured. His driver Danica Patrick was caught up in another wreck before Earnhardt flipped. The next day during the 2010 Daytona 500 Jr. made a late charge to the front of the pack coming from 6th to 2nd in one turn but his run was foiled by Jamie McMurray as Earnhardt Jr, finished 2nd. It was his best run all year. His only other Top 5s came at the July Daytona race and Loudon in September. He finished the year with eight top 10s and 1 pole as consistency plagued the team.
On July 2, 2010, Earnhardt raced the No. 3 blue and yellow Wrangler Chevrolet (painted to pay tribute to his father and fans) and drove it to victory lane in the Nationwide Series Subway Jalepeño 250 at Daytona. He finished the 2010 Season on November 21, 2010, ranking 21st. Hendrick Motorsports then did a major crew chief shuffle, pairing Earnhardt's crew chief McGrew with Mark Martin, while Gordon's crew chief Steve Letarte moved to the 88 team, and Gordon got Martin's crew chief, Alan Gustafson. On December 2, 2010, it was announced that Earnhardt won the NMPA Most Popular Driver award for the 8th consecutive time.
Earnhardt Jr. kicked off 2015 with a ninth-place finish in the Sprint Unlimited. On February 19, he won Budweiser Duel No. 1 in what was his fourth triumph in the Budweiser Duels. In the Daytona 500, he led for over 30 laps but on one of the last restarts, he made a move that mired him in the middle without help, and fell back to 16th with 15 laps to go, but managed to make his way back to third place by the last lap. This was his fifth Top 3 finish in the Daytona 500 in six years, after his runner-up finishes in 2010, 2012, and 2013, and his win in 2014.
He began the season by drawing the pole position at the 2011 Budweiser Shootout, where he finished 19th in the race. On February 13, he earned his first pole position at Daytona International Speedway, as well as his first at a track that uses restrictor plates. Due to a practice crash, he had to start at the back of the field for both the duel race and the 500. He finished 24th in the Daytona 500 after being wrecked with 4 laps to go. Over the next seven races, Earnhardt would achieve five Top 10 finishes, including a 2nd-place finish at Martinsville after losing the lead to Kevin Harvick with 4 laps to go, and a 4th-place finish at Talladega in a photo finish with Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, and Kevin Harvick. Earnhardt came within half a lap of snapping his then-104 race winless streak at the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, when he ran out of fuel during a green-white-checkered finish, finishing 7th. The following week at Kansas, Earnhardt finished 2nd to Brad Keselowski. He followed this up with a solid 6th-place finish at Pocono. Over the course of the next three races, Earnhardt would slide to 7th in the Championship points, finishing 21st at Michigan, 41st at Infineon, and 19th at Daytona. On September 1, 2011, Earnhardt announced he had signed a 5-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 88 until 2017. On September 19, 2011, Earnhardt made his first Chase for the Sprint Cup appearance since 2008 at Chicagoland. At the season finale at Homestead, he finished 11th and finished 7th in the final points standings. On December 1, 2011, it was announced that Earnhardt won the Most Popular Driver award for the 9th consecutive time.
On the morning of October 11, 2012, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Earnhardt would have to sit out the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte and the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas due to a concussion from a 25-car crash on the last lap at Talladega on October 7, 2012. That weekend, Earnhardt finished 20th at Talladega when he took a hard lick in a crash after making contact with Bobby Labonte. Prior to this, Earnhardt had suffered a concussion during an August 29 test at Kansas Speedway. Regan Smith was announced to replace him at those two races. Prior to the concussion, Earnhardt had competed in 461 consecutive races, dating back to the 1999 Atlanta event. The 2012 Bank of America 500 marked the first race since the 1979 Southern 500 that an Earnhardt had not competed in the Sprint Cup Series as Dale Earnhardt had competed in every race from that one up until his death in the 2001 Daytona 500. On October 23, 2012, Earnhardt was cleared for the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville after missing two races. He started strong in the race, but a late race spin with Carl Edwards placed for a 21st-place finish. His first top ten finish after returning to the track was a seventh-place finish at Texas. At Phoenix, Earnhardt fought an ill-handling car, and finished 21st. At the season finale, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Earnhardt would finish 10th. This was his first top 10 finish at the 1.5-mile track, and his 20th of the season. He closed the season 12th in the final standings. On November 29, 2012, it was announced that Earnhardt won the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award for the 10th consecutive year. This tied Bill Elliott's streak of 10 consecutive wins in the award.
Earnhardt has been featured on the cover of NASCAR-themed video games twice; he appeared on the cover of EA Sports' NASCAR Thunder 2003, and also was voted to be on the cover of NASCAR The Game: Inside Line in 2012.
In April 2012, Earnhardt became a partner of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. He addressed delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention at Charlotte Motor Speedway on behalf of the coalition. In 2014, Earnhardt recorded an advertisement for America's Power, encouraging voter turnout for the U.S. elections that year.
In May 2012, Earnhardt singled out Republican Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia while speaking against an amendment to a defense bill that would prohibit the military from funding sponsorships in professional sports.
On December 5, 2013, Earnhardt won the Most Popular Driver Award for the 11th consecutive year, breaking Bill Elliott's record, who scored 10 straight awards from 1991 to 2000.
As of 2013, Earnhardt has his own signature line of eyeglass frames, partnering with NY Eye Inc. In August 2012, he entered the automobile dealer business, opening Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Tallahassee, Florida in association with car owner Rick Hendrick.
Beginning the 2013 season, Earnhardt's Hammerhead Entertainment and his Dirty Mo Radio podcasting network began producing The Dale Jr. Download, a weekly podcast which recaps his race weekend. It was hosted by Taylor Zarzour and Mike Davis up until the end of the 2016 season. For the 2017 season Dale Jr and his road manager, Tyler Overstreet replaced Davis and Zarzour as the hosts of The Dale Jr. Download. However, Davis continued to make an occasional appearance on the podcast. Since 2018, edited versions of The Dale Jr. Download have aired on NBCSN featuring interviews with current and former NASCAR personalities.
Earnhardt is also the current co owner of JR Motorsports, a NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series team. In 2014, the team won their first NASCAR national championship, as Chase Elliott drove the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts car to the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. In 2015, JR Motorsports began fielding a part-time team in the Truck Series, with Cole Custer driving the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet in 10 races. Kasey Kahne also drove part-time in the Truck Series, with the two drivers winning at Gateway Motorsports Park and Charlotte, respectively. JR Motorsports also has a very successful regional late model program, with Josh Berry capturing the 2012 Motor Mile Championship in the Whelen All-American series. Berry was also able to win a second track championship at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Until its rebranding in 2015, the band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. was named after Earnhardt. Earnhardt is a noted fan of Ellicott City, Maryland rock band The Dangerous Summer and produced the music video for the band's song "Ghosts".
On June 17, 2015, Earnhardt announced his engagement to his longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann. After winning his 14th Most Popular Driver Award in 2016, he announced their marriage would take place on New Year's Eve. They got married at Richard Childress' Childress Vineyards in Lexington, North Carolina.
In July, Earnhardt was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms and would miss the second half of the year as a result. He was replaced by Alex Bowman for the New Hampshire 301 and Jeff Gordon at the Brickyard 400 and Pennsylvania 400. On September 2, Earnhardt announced he would sit out the remainder of the season with Gordon and Bowman continuing their replacement roles in the 88. On December 8, 2016, Earnhardt was medically cleared to return to competition in 2017. Despite missing the second half of the season, Earnhardt Jr. won the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award for the 14th consecutive time.
In 2016, Earnhardt was a guest analyst in NASCAR Cup and Xfinity race broadcasts on Fox and NBC.
In March 2016, Earnhardt announced that he plans to donate his brain for concussion research when he dies.
Earnhardt started the 2017 Daytona 500 qualifying second but was wrecked while leading mid-race, and finished 37th. After a string of lackluster finishes, he managed to score a top 5 at the newly repaved Texas. It was his first and only Top 5 finish of the year. On April 25, 2017, Earnhardt announced that 2017 would be his final year driving full-time. Earnhardt Jr. failed to make the Playoffs in his final year, posting a 13th-place finish at Richmond, needing a win to make it in. In his final restrictor plate race at Talladega, Earnhardt would start on the pole and he would miss three big wrecks in the closing laps to finish seventh. In his final career race, Earnhardt started in 24th place and finished in 25th place. He ended up in 21st in points standings. He ended up with only one Top 5, eight Top 10's, two poles, and seven DNF's. However he did win his 15th consecutive and final Most Popular Driver award. Even though 15 straight years of Earnhardt being most popular driver is a NASCAR record, he is second all-time to Bill Elliott, who has 16 most popular driver awards, including 10 straight.
In January 2017, Earnhardt revealed that his family immigrated from Germany in the 1770s to escape religious persecution, saying "America is created by immigrants." In August, he spoke out against hatred, bigotry and racism following the attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia and Barcelona, Spain. In September, after protests of the U.S. national anthem gained traction following criticism from President Donald Trump, Earnhardt expressed support for peaceful protesters, quoting former president John F. Kennedy on Twitter: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
In October 2017, Earnhardt revealed that he and Amy were expecting their first child, a girl, due May 2, 2018. Their daughter Isla Rose Earnhardt was born on April 30, 2018. In March 2020, Earnhardt revealed that he and Amy were expecting their second child. The couple welcomed their second child, Nicole Loraine on October 12, 2020.
After his retirement, Earnhardt began sporadically racing in the Xfinity Series with JR Motorsports. In 2018, he ran the fall Xfinity race at Richmond in the No. 88, after qualifying second, he dominated by leading 96 of the 250 laps, but would ultimately finish fourth after a late race restart. The following year, he contested the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington, his first Xfinity start at the track since 1999, driving a No. 8 designed after his father's 1975 Cup car. After starting 15th, he finished fifth; he had originally finished sixth but was promoted one position following Denny Hamlin's disqualification.
Earnhardt joined the NASCAR on NBC broadcasting team as a color commentator for the 2018 season. He made his debut on NBCSN's NASCAR America on March 12, 2018, joining Leigh Diffey, Jeff Burton, and his former crew chief Steve Letarte. In his debut at the 2018 Overton's 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, he coined his catchphrase: "Slide job!" when Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson battled for the lead on the final lap.
On April 22, 2019, Brenda Jackson, Earnhardt's mother, died at the age of 65 after years of battling cancer. She had served as an accounting specialist for JR Motorsports since 2004.
On August 15, 2019, a Cessna Citation Latitude private jet carrying Earnhardt, his wife Amy, daughter Isla Rose, and dog Gus was involved in a bounced landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee and caught fire. None of the passengers were seriously injured. He announced on Twitter about a week after the accident that he still intended to participate in the Xfinity Series one-off entry at Darlington the week afterwards, even though his lower back had gotten sizeable bruises and swelling. Earnhardt finished fifth in the Darlington race after having sufficiently recovered to be taking part in the event, confirming before the race he was feeling great and had been assured there was no risk for him in taking part.
In 2020, Earnhardt will share the No. 8 with Daniel Hemric and Jeb Burton. At the 2020 Daytona 500, Earnhardt Jr. was named the Honorary Starter and waved the green flag to officially begin the race.
Currently, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 48 years, 3 months and 27 days old. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will celebrate 49th birthday on a Tuesday 10th of October 2023.
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