The Earnhardt name is synonymous with NASCAR. They are a four-generation racing family beginning with Ralph Earnhardt in the 1950s. He is the father of race car driver Dale Earnhardt Sr., grandfather to race car drivers Kerry Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and JR Motorsports vice-president Kelley Earnhardt. He is also the great-grandfather to drivers Bobby Dale Earnhardt and Jeffrey Earnhardt.
Dale Sr. was known for driving the No. 3 car and due to his aggressive driving style and his trademark black paint, he had the nicknames “The Intimidator,” “The Man in Black,” and “Ironhead.”
Dale Earnhardt won the 1999 Diehard 500 at Talladega 23 years ago today.
— NASCAR Legends (@LegendsNascar) April 25, 2022
21 years after Dale Sr.’s tragic death during the Daytona 500, his grandson, Jeffrey, raced at Talladega Superspeedway in the iconic black No. 3 car. On April 12, Jeffrey’s sponsor, Forever Lawn announced that he would be putting “an Earnhardt behind the wheel of the No. 3 once again.”
Legacy looks like this.
We’ve partnered with @RCRracing to put an Earnhardt behind the wheel of the No. 3 once again. See you at Talladega, @JEarnhardt1! #blackandgreengrassmachine | #agpro300 | #legendswithoutlimits pic.twitter.com/2uzaX1KCfX
— ForeverLawn (@foreverlawninc) April 12, 2022
Not only did Jeffrey drive the No. 3 car at Talladega, he also captured the pole for the first time in his career (135 starts) on Friday (April 22). After his first pole win, Jeffrey gave interviews saying that he just hopes his grandfather is proud of him.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) April 22, 2022
For the first time, Jeffrey raced with Richard Childress Racing, his grandfather’s longtime team.
“It’s incredible,” the driver said. “It just really has me speechless. I didn’t… This is what we hoped to happen, but I didn’t know for sure that I would be capable of it. Obviously Richard brings fast cars and I feel like I’m a good driver, but you never know until you’re given the opportunity. I think we were able to put it all together today and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow.”
And while he didn’t take home the win Saturday, April 23rd, he placed second by a mere 0.131 seconds! This is his best finish, seeing as his only previous top five finish was third place in 2019 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
FOX Sports analyst Larry McReynolds served as Jeffrey’s crew chief, coming out of retirement since 2000. Of the race, McReynolds said, “Well, I had feelings on that last lap that there must have been an Earnhardt behind the wheel based on the things he was doing. The apple didn’t roll too far from the dad’s tree or the granddad’s tree.”
Jeffrey’s father is Dale’s son Kerry, also a race car driver. See Jeffrey’s post after his second place finish below.
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Congrats to Jeffrey, and the Earnhardt family!