Dale Earnhardt

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Dale Earnhardt grew up in automotive racing. Ever since he was a kid that is what his family did, and now his family carries on that legacy.

Dale Earnhardt grew up in Kannapolis, North Carolina, a textile mill town. His father, Ralph Earnhardt, was known as "Iron heart" on the short-track racing circuit, and he taught Dale how to drive stock cars and work with engines. His father had converted a barn behind the family home into a garage, and he was well known for his skill with engines. Earnhardt's earliest memory is of watching his father race. Dale dropped out of high school after the eighth grade because he tried ninth grade twice and just couldn't do it. After he dropped out, Dale worked odd jobs, drove dirt tracks, and also argued with his father, which wanted him to complete high school. Dale became most famous with his black Monte Carlo with a dominate # 3 in white on it, but his first dirt track car was a 1956 hot-pink ford Sedan, which his neighbors gave to him, David and Ray Oliver. His father Ralph had built the engine, and some other friends, Frank and Wayne Dayvault and their cousin Gregg, tuned it. They intended to paint the car avocado green, but a paint mishap resulted in the car being pink. They could not afford to repaint it, and Dale raced the pink car on dirt tracks around Charlotte, North Carolina. Dale married for the first time at 17, and at age 18 had a son, Kerry. Dale divorced his first wife at 19 and married a second time to Brenda. This marriage would last five years before he divorced again. Dale had two children with his second wife, a daughter, Kelley, and a son, Dale Jr., who would both followed him into racing. While Dale was at the age of twenty two his father died from a heart attack. Earn...

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...nto the steering column of the car. Dale's legions of fans mourned his loss deeply, creating shrines and memorials all over the country, particularly in his hometown of Mooresville. Bechtel quoted long-time friend H.A. Wheeler, who said, "Here's a kid who came from the bottom, worked hard for everything he got and didn't have any airs about him . . .. Truck drivers, dockworkers, welders and shrimp-boat captains loved that. He was everything they dreamed about being."

I believe that Dale Earnhardt was the greatest stock car driver there was and ever will be. He was down to earth and didn't let money or fame stop him from connecting with his fans. Dale has done many great things with his life, and also great things with the community and the people that followed him thought his racing career. Dale was a role model to many and other drivers looked up, and respected him.

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