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Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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Biography

This article needs additional references or sources for verification.Please help this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(April 2007)Ralph Dale Earnhardt,Jr.Born:October 10, 1974 (1974-10-10) (age 32)

Earnhardt, Jr. competed for the Raybestos NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award in 2000. His primary competitor for the award was Matt Kenseth. Kenseth outran Junior in the season-opening Daytona 500. Earnhardt, Jr. scored wins at the Texas Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. He also become the first rookie to win the All-Star exhibition race. Kenseth ultimately scored a 42-point victory in the rookie race.

Dale Jr. did have a part in recreating one Winston Cup milestone in 2000 when he competed with his father and half-brother Kerry in the Pepsi 400. That occasion was only the second time that a father had raced against two sons. Lee, Richard and Maurice Petty had previously accomplished the feat.

In 2001 Earnhardt, Jr. came into the season hoping to avoid a sophomore slump, but the year proved to be one of the most tumultuous and memorable seasons the young driver would experience.

The major event of the season occurred in the final corner of the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. As Earnhardt, Jr. finished second, to his teammate Michael Waltrip, his father had crashed in turn four, due to contact with Sterling Marlin, who was in fourth spot at the time. Dale Earnhardt Sr. did not survive the wreck. He was pronounced dead at 8:35 p.m. that Sunday. Junior raced at Rockingham the following weekend, but finished in 43rd-place after a wreck that looked fairly similar to his father's wreck just one week earlier. Earnhardt, Jr. rebounded and scored victories at Dover and Talladega, as well as an emotional win in the return to Daytona, finishing eighth in points for the year.

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 the DEI #15 driven by Michael Waltrip for the 2005 season. Peter Rondeau, a Chance 2 employee who also helped Earnhardt, Jr. win the Busch Series race at Bristol in August, became the crew chief for Earnhardt, Jr. 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 Jr. score his lone win of 2005 at Chicagoland in July. Earnhardt, Jr. was eliminated from any possible competition for the NEXTEL Cup championship after suffering an engine failure at the California Speedway. Earnhardt, Jr. was reunited with cousin Tony Eury, Jr. after the fall Richmond weekend, and results improved immediately. For the 3rd straight year, Earnhardt, Jr. took home the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award.Dale Earnhardt, Jr. merchandise hauler.

On June 13, 2007 he announced at a press conference that he had signed a five-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Kyle Busch.

Hendrick officials didn't initially reveal what number Earnhardt will use when he starts his five-year deal with the team in 2008, though he had stated that he would like to use #81. Earnhardt Jr. will move to current #25 car with Tony Eury, Jr. coming to Hendrick to remain as his crew chief. On September 19, the official announcement was made that Dale Jr would be driving the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy for the 2008 season.



 


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