Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Racing Career

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Photo
Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Birthdate: Oct. 10, 1974
Hometown: Kannapolis, N.C.
Resides: Mooresville, N.C.
Wife: Amy
Children: Isla Rose
Hobbies: Music, traveling, NASCAR history, iRacing
Twitter: @DaleJr
Website: dalejr.com

Semi-retired after 2017 season.
2017 Cup Team and Owner (Last Cup Team)
No. 88 Nationwide / Axalta / Mountain Dew
Chevrolet SS
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Website: hendrickmotorsports.com
Team Owner: Rick Hendrick
Crew Chief: Greg Ives
Engine Builder: Hendrick Engines
Career Starts: 631
Career Wins: 26
Career Poles: 15
Playoff Berths: 8
Best Points Finish: 3rd (2003)
First Full Season: 2000
First Start: May 30, 1999 (Charlotte)
First Win: April 2, 2000 (Texas)
First Pole: May 24, 2000 (Charlotte)

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2004, 2014 Daytona 500 champion.
  • 1998-99 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.
  • Career-high six victories in 2004.
  • Voted Most Popular Driver for 14th consecutive season in 2016

YEAR-BY-YEAR NASCAR CUP SERIES RECAP

2017:
Finished 21st in series points.
Average start, 17.
Average finish, 20.
Scored two poles; first season with multiple poles since 2013, Daytona-2, Talladega-2.

2016:
Finished 32nd in series points after competing in 18 races due to injury (concussion).
In his 18 starts, he posted five top fives and six top 10s, including four runner-up finishes.
Won his Can-Am Duel at Daytona race.
Average start, 16.3.
Average finish, 15.6.
Finished 14 of the 18 races on the lead lap.
Completed 4,861 of his possible 5,202 (93.4 percent) laps attempted.

2015:
Finished 12th in series points.
Won three races a year after winning four, the highest two-season total of his career.
Matched career highs in top fives (16) and top 10s (22).
Won Talladega-1, Daytona-2 and Phoenix-2.
Also won his Can-Am Duel at Daytona race.
Started first at Daytona-2 after posting the fastest speed in first practice (202.284 mph).
Average finish of 11.3.
Average start of 13.8, his best since 2008.
Was eliminated from the playoffs following the Round of 12.

2014:
Finished eighth in series points.
Won four races, his highest total since 2004.
Won his second Daytona 500.
Swept races at Pocono Raceway, his first season sweep since 2002 (Talladega).
Won his first race at Martinsville, during the playoffs.
Average finish of 12.2.
Average start of 16.1.
Led the points after five races, and as late as race No. 22 at Watkins Glen.
Was eliminated from the playoffs following the Contender Round.

2013:
Finished fifth in series points, his best standings finish since 2006.
Top 10 in points after 34 of 36 races.
Second in Daytona 500 for the third time in four years.
Scored a career-high 22 top-10 finishes.
Scored 10 top-five finishes for the second consecutive season.
Average start of 13.9 was best since 2008.
Scored two poles; first season with multiple poles since 2002.
Had eight top 10s in the playoffs; only champion Jimmie Johnson had more.
DNF (engine) in opening playoffs at Chicagoland spoiled championship hopes.

2012:
Finished 12th in series points.
Second season with crew chief Steve Letarte resulted in 12.6-point increase in his Loop Data driver rating from 2011.
Started season finishing second in Daytona 500 for the second time in three years.
In his most consistent season since 2003-2004, never fell out of top-five in standings in 26-race regular season before entering his second consecutive playoffs for the NASCAR Cup Series as the seventh seed.
Was sitting 11th in playoffs standings when he sat out two races with a concussion incurred in a crash during testing at Kansas, then exacerbated in a crash in playoffs race four at Talladega. In the process, he broke his 461-race consecutive starts streak.
Won pole in third consecutive season, at Richmond-2.
Average start of 15.4.
Won first race with Letarte in the Showdown, then finished fifth in All-Star Race.
Snapped 143-race winless streak at Michigan-1, first win since 2008 Michigan-1.
Career-best average finish of 10.9.
Completed career-best 99.8 percent of laps attempted.

2011:
Finished seventh in series points.
First season with Letarte resulted in eight-point gain in Loop Data Driver Rating over 2010, best statistical season since 2008, his first with Hendrick Motorsports.
Made fourth playoffs, as 10th seed, after two-year hiatus.
Won pole for Daytona 500.
Average start of 19.6.
Average finish of 14.5.
Best finish, second at Martinsville-1 and Kansas-1.
Was in a qualified spot for the playoffs since the third race of the season.
Completed 99.2 percent of laps attempted.
52 laps led, the least in his 12-year full-time career.

2010:
Finished 21st in series points.
Started season with second-place finish in Daytona 500.
Spent five consecutive weeks in top 10 of standings, but fell out for last time after Talladega-1.
Won ninth career pole at Atlanta-1, average start of 19.0 with 12 top-10 starts.
Highest position in standings after Daytona was seventh, after Phoenix-1.
In off-season, owner Rick Hendrick moved Earnhardt Jr. into crew chief Steve Letarte’s shop for 2011.

2009:
Finished 25th in series points.
Finished second at Talladega on April 26 (leading 20 laps) as Brad Keselowski, then a driver for his JR Motorsports NASCAR XFINITY Series team, claimed his first Cup win.
Was third at Michigan on Aug. 16.
Tony Eury Jr. was removed as crew chief after 12 races, with Earnhardt 19th in points after finishing 40th at Charlotte.
Brian Whitesell was crew chief the following week at Dover. Lance McGrew took over as interim chief at Pocono and was given the position permanently for 2010.

2008:
Finished 12th in series points.
First season with Hendrick Motorsports.
June win at Michigan broke a 76-race victory drought.
Occupied a top-five spot in the standings for 23 consecutive weeks, following the March event at Bristol until after the September event at Dover.
Earned a playoffs berth as the fourth seed, but slumped during the 10-race playoffs, finishing 12th in the final standings.

2007:
Finished 16th in series points.
Finished with one pole, seven top-fives and 12 top-10s in a disappointing season, his last with Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Announced in May that he would join Hendrick Motorsports for the 2008 season.
Nine DNFs was a career-high.
First full-time season without a win.

2006:
Finished fifth in series points.
Fourth career finish in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series top 10.
Only victory came at Richmond in May.
Earned a berth in the playoffs following a one-year absence.

2005:
Finished 19th in series points.
Captured his only victory under the leadership of DEI Technical Director Steve Hmiel, who took over for crew chief Pete Rondeau after Charlotte-1.
Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. led the No. 8 team from New Hampshire-2 until the end of the season.

2004:
Finished fifth in series points.
Had six victories, second only to Jimmie Johnson's eight.
Daytona 500 victory made the Dale Earnhardt Sr./Dale Earnhardt Jr. tandem only the third father/son combination to win "The Great American Race," along with Lee and Richard Petty and Bobby and Davey Allison.
Won two restrictor-plate races and was the only driver to post top-10 finishes in each of the four restrictor-plate races.

2003:
Finished career-best third in series points.
Was second in the standings for 19 race weekends.
Posted two victories (Talladega-1, Phoenix-2); his Talladega win was his record fourth straight there.
Narrowly missed a fifth consecutive win at Talladega in September with a runner-up finish to DEI teammate Michael Waltrip.
Posted career bests with 13 top-fives and 21 top-10s, totals that were fourth and third in the series, respectively. … Voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver, marking the first time a father and son have received the award; his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., won posthumously in 2001.

2002:
Finished 11th in series points.
Won two races, via season sweep at Talladega.
Two poles, at Michigan-2 and Kansas.
Led a series-high 1,068 laps.
Had the most consecutive top-five finishes (three) in his career.
Also posted career bests in top-five starts (13) and fewest DNFs (three).

2001:
Finished eighth in series points.
Scored a trio of dramatic, emotional victories.
First win came in July at Daytona, the first race there since his father’s death in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. He held off DEI teammate Michael Waltrip, to whom he finished second in February, for that July win.
Next victory came at Dover in the series’ first race back after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He punctuated that win with a victory lap carrying an American flag. Third win came in October at Talladega, the site of his father's final career victory a year earlier.

2000:
Finished 16th in series points.
Became first rookie to win the NASCAR All-Star Challenge.
Came up 42 points shy of winning the Rookie of the Year Award behind former NASCAR XFINITY Series foe Matt Kenseth.
Joined Jeff Burton as second first-time winner at Texas.
Along with Tony Stewart, became second rookie in two years to win at Richmond.

1999:
Finished 48th in series points.
Competed in five races.
Best start, eighth, in series debut at Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.
Best finish, 10th, at Richmond-2.

OTHER RACING HISTORY
Has run partial or full schedules in 17 NASCAR XFINITY Series seasons, winning 23 races in 135 starts.
In 2010, won XFINITY Series’ Daytona-2 race in iconic No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet made famous by his father.
Won back-to-back XFINITY Series titles in 1998-1999, his only two full seasons of XFINITY Series competition.
Began his professional career at age 17 competing in the street stock division at Concord (N.C.) Motorsport Park, later moving up to late model stock cars.
First race car was a 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that he owned along with his brother, Kerry.
Raced against Kerry and sister Kelley at the beginning of his career.
Won three feature victories in his NASCAR All-American Series late model stock car career (1994-1996).
When he raced in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan in 2000 along with his late father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and half-brother Kerry Earnhardt, it was the second time a father and two sons ran in the same NASCAR Cup Series event. Lee Petty also raced against his sons, Richard and Maurice, in 1960.

NOTEWORTHY
Began racing at age eight.
Owner of JR Motorsports, which competes in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and won the XFINITY Series driver championship in 2014 with Chase Elliott.
Has collected wins since 2008 with drivers such as Mark Martin, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Ron Fellows, Jamie McMurray, Regan Smith and Chase Elliott.
Was co-owner of Chance 2 Motorsports when that organization won consecutive XFINITY Series titles with Martin Truex Jr. in 2004-2005.
With sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller, active in the operation of The Dale Jr. Foundation, which celebrated its eighth year in 2015 as a charity "dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals, with a focus on youth, the resources to improve their confidence and education, and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals."
Says his hero is his late father, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Became NASCAR's first third-generation champion by winning XFINITY Series titles in 1998-1999, joining his father's record-tying seven NASCAR Cup Series titles and grandfather Ralph Earnhardt's 1956 NASCAR Sportsman Division title.
On a trip to Germany, the ancestral home of the Earnhardts, in 2015, he and longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann got engaged.
Lists the Washington Redskins as his favorite sports team.
Possesses a personal car collection that includes a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, 2001 Corvette C5-R with Le Mans wing, 2005 Corvette, 2001 "Intimidator SS" Camaro and a 1948 Chevrolet truck.
Has constructed a full-scale replica of a Western town on his Mooresville, N.C., property.
Owner of Whisky River nightclub franchise, with locations in Charlotte, N.C.

DALE EARNHARDT, JR. - NASCAR CUP SERIES STATISTICS
YEARRACE TEAM RACES RANK WINS TOP 5s TOP 10s DNF POLES
1999 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 5 48 0 0 1 1 0
2000 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 34 16 2 3 5 7 2
2001 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 36 8 3 9 15 4 2
2002 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 36 11 2 11 16 3 2
2003 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 36 3 2 13 21 4 0
2004 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 36 5 6 16 21 4 0
2005 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 36 19 1 7 13 6 0
2006 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 36 5 1 10 17 3 0
2007 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 36 16 0 7 12 9 1
2008 Hendrick Motorsports 36 12 1 10 16 2 1
2009 Hendrick Motorsports 36 25 0 2 5 5 0
2010 Hendrick Motorsports 36 21 0 3 8 0 1
2011 Hendrick Motorsports 36 7 0 4 12 2 1
2012 Hendrick Motorsports 34 12 1 10 20 0 1
2013 Hendrick Motorsports 36 5 0 10 22 3 2
2014 Hendrick Motorsports 36 8 4 12 20 2 0
2015 Hendrick Motorsports 36 12 3 16 22 1 0
2016 Hendrick Motorsports 18 32 0 5 6 4 0
2017 Hendrick Motorsports 36 21 0 1 8 7 2
TOTAL 631 26 149 260 67 15
WINS: 26 – Texas, Richmond-1 (2000); Daytona-2, Dover-2, Talladega-2 (2001); Talladega-1, Talladega-2 (2002); Talladega-1 (2003); Phoenix (2003); Daytona-1, Atlanta-1, Richmond-1, Bristol-2, Talladega-2, Phoenix (2004); Chicago (2005); Richmond-1 (2006); Michigan-1 (2008); Michigan-1 (2012); Daytona-1; Pocono-1, Pocono-2, Martinsville-2 (2014); Talladega-1, Daytona-2, Phoenix-2 (2015).
POLES: 13 – Charlotte-1, Michigan-2 (2000); Texas (2001); Michigan-2, Kansas, Atlanta-2 (2002); Pocono-2 (2007); Texas-1 (2008); Atlanta-1 (2010); Daytona-1 (2011); Richmond-2 (2012); Kentucky, Dover-2 (2013); Daytona-2 (2017); Talladega-2 (2017)