Dale Earnhardt

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Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (April 29, 1951 – February 18, 2001[1]) was an American race car driver, best known for his career driving stock cars in NASCAR's top division.

Earnhardt is notable for his success in the Winston Cup Series (now the Sprint Cup Series), winning seventy-six races (including one Daytona 500 victory in 1998). Earnhardt's seven championships are tied for most all-time with Richard Petty. His aggressive driving style led to controversy and earned him the nickname "The Intimidator".

Earnhardt died in a last-lap crash during the 2001 Daytona 500.[2] He has been inducted in numerous halls of fame, including the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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Early life and personal life

Earnhardt was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, on April 29, 1951, to Martha Coleman and Ralph Earnhardt, who was then one of the best short-track drivers in North Carolina. Ralph won his one and only NASCAR Sportsman Championship in 1956 at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, South Carolina. Although Ralph did not want his son to follow in his footsteps, Earnhardt would not be persuaded to give up his dream of racing, dropping out of school to race. Ralph was a hard teacher for Earnhardt, and after Ralph died of a heart attack at his home in 1973, it took many years before Earnhardt felt as though he had finally "proven" himself to his father. Earnhardt had four siblings, Danny, Randy,Cathy, and Kaye.

When Earnhardt was 17, he married his first wife, Latane Brown, in 1968. Brown gave birth to Earnhardt's first son, Kerry Dale, in 1969. They were subsequently divorced in 1970. In 1971, Earnhardt married his second wife, Brenda Gee (the daughter of NASCAR car builder Robert Gee), who gave birth to a daughter, Kelley King, in 1972, and a son, Ralph Dale Jr., in 1974. Not long after his second son was born Dale and Brenda divorced. Dale then married his last wife, Teresa Houston in 1982, who gave birth to their daughter Taylor Nicole in 1988.

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