Earnhardt, Dale (Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Sr.) (ûrnˈhärt), 1951–2001, American auto racing driver widely regarded as stock car racing's greatest star, b. Kannapolis, N.C. The 1979 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Rookie of the Year, he became, initially in rivalry with Richard Petty, one of the dominant U.S. drivers. Earnhardt won seven Nascar Cup championships and a total of 76 races. “The Intimidator” was especially successful at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, but did not win his first Daytona 500 until 1998. Also nicknamed “Ironhead,” Earnhardt died in a crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona race. His son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., 1974–, also was a race-car driver, winning 26 Nascar Cup Series races, including two Daytona 500s, before he retired in 2017. He subsequently has worked as a broadcast race analyst.
See biography by L. Montville (2001).
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