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In 1998 he made his first start in the Winston Cup, at the exhibition race held in Motegi, Japan. rallied to score two more wins at Talladega, a pair of Bud Pole Awards and an 11th-place finish in the standings.Also in 1999 he drove in 5 Winston Cup races in the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., then in 2000 he went full time in the Winston Cup series. competed for the Raybestos NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award in 2000. In 2003, he became a true title contender, scoring a record-breaking 4th consecutive win at Talladega.His primary competitor for the award was Matt Kenseth. This season of emotion produced nine top-fives and 15 top-10 finishes, as well as two Bud Poles. He struggled after enduring a concussion at Fontana in April — an injury he did not admit to until mid-September. He later scored a victory at Phoenix in October, recording a career best 3rd place effort in the standings.Kenseth outran Junior in the season-opening Daytona 500. scored wins at the Texas Motor Speedway, breaking the record held by his father, Earnhardt, Sr., for fewest starts by a driver to earn his first victory in NASCAR's "Modern Era" by winning in just his 12th start, and also at Richmond International Raceway. raced at Rockingham the following weekend, but finished in 43rd-place after a wreck that looked eerily similar to his father's wreck just one week earlier. scored victories at Dover (the first Cup race following the September 11th attacks as the original scheduled race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was postponed until the end of the season) and Talladega, as well as an emotional win in the return to Daytona in the Pepsi 400, finishing eighth in points for the year. He also took home the NMPA Most Popular Driver award for the first time in his career. (born October 10, 1974), better known simply as Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is a professional American race car driver and team owner who drives the #88 AMP Energy/United States National Guard Chevrolet Impala in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports, and drives the Unilever Chevrolet Impala for his own team, JR Motorsports, in the Nationwide Series . His first race car was a 1979 Monte Carlo that he co-owned with his older half-brother, Kerry Earnhardt. had honed his driving abilities to the point of joining the Late Model Stock Car division.He is the son of the late NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, Sr., and the grandson of both the late NASCAR driver Ralph Earnhardt and Robert Gee, the well known stock car fabricator. is also the half-brother of former driver Kerry Earnhardt, the uncle of driver Jeffrey Earnhardt, and the stepson of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team co-owner Teresa Earnhardt. There he developed an in-depth knowledge of chassis setup and car preparation, while racing against his older brother Kerry and his sister Kelley. His maternal grandfather, Robert Gee, Sr., was a NASCAR car builder. attended college and earned a 2 year automotive degree in Mooresville, North Carolina. began his racing career at the late age of 17, competing in the Street Stock division at Concord, North Carolina's Motorsport Park.He worked at his father's dealership as a mechanic while he went to Mitchell Community College to earn as associates degree in automotive technology.
ran nine Busch Series races between 19 for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
and Ed Whitaker, respectively, before driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
in the Busch Series full time in 1998, in which he started the season in an amazing blowover after contact with Dick Trickle and Buckshot Jones at Daytona. won consecutive NASCAR Busch Series Championships in 19 barely edging Matt Kenseth.
He became the first rookie to win the All-Star exhibition race. played a part in recreating one Winston Cup milestone in 2000 when he competed with his father and half-brother Kerry in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway. six years to the day after his father won his only title in the "Great American Race (and 3 years after his father was killed in the 2001 race)." On July 18, during an off-weekend from NASCAR, Dale Jr.
That occasion was only the second time that a father had raced against two sons. crashed a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R during a practice for the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.
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Lee, Richard and Maurice Petty had previously accomplished the feat. The car slid off course and hit a concrete barrier during warm-up the day of the race, rupturing a fuel line and causing the car to burst into flames with him still inside.