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The Intimidator A Biography Of Dale Earnhardt Sr.

1485 words - 6 pages

"The Intimidator". Nothing else needs to be said. The mere mention of Dale Earnhardt's hard earned nickname sends shivers up any race fan's spine, and a look of awe will cloud their face. They will know immediately who you're talking about: the dirt roots, tough as nails, fearless driver who is one of NASCAR's finest. Earnhardt had no problem spinning someone out or running them into a wall to win a race. His temper could flare up in a second, but that didn't change the fact everyone respected him. He had a style of racing and a passion for the sport that had never been seen before. In just his rookie year he was being compared to the greats- Yarborough, Allison, Labonte, Elliot, Parsons, even the King, Richard Petty. No one knew what to think of him. But there was no questioning this boy's other-worldly talent. He was soon regarded as the one to beat. Dale Earnhardt might not have won as many races as some, but he was, and still is, arguably the best driver NASCAR has ever seen.Ralph "Dale" Earnhardt was born April 29, 1951 to Ralph Earnhardt and Martha Coleman. They lived in a modest house in Kannapolis, North Carolina, where Ralph competed in the southeast stock car races. It was from his father racing that led Dale to fall in love with the then- unpopular sport. The elder Earnhardt achieved a small amount of fame, earning him the nickname "Ironheart", and winning almost all the races he competed in. One would wonder why he didn't move on to race Winston Cup, but it was supposed Ralph didn't want to move his family around. That was a good thing for young Dale; he learned how to work in his dad's shop and could fix any problem with a car using the bare necessities. He dropped out of school after eighth grade to pursue his love of cars. Dale was soon working full time in the shop and had started to race Hobby cars in his late teens. At night, he would race, come home, and build another car, paying for most of it himself. (Of course, he had a little help from dad.) He learned early on the value of a dollar, how to make things work when you needed them to, and how to take care of himself. These hard lessons proved helpful when Ralph Earnhardt died of a heart failure in 1973 and was no longer there to be his son's mentor.After his father's death, Dale Earnhardt wanted to be a racecar driver more than anything. He continued to race the Sportsman circuit at speedways near his home, such as Hickory, Concord, and the Metrolina Fairgrounds. Dale made his Winston Cup debut in 1975, where he finished 22nd in the World 600 at Charlotte. At the time he was driving a dodge for Ed Negre in a bad, makeshift deal that was made with the heads of Negre's company. Over the next three years, he made eight more starts, the last one being the 1978 Dixie 500 at Atlanta. He was then driving a second car for Rod Osterlund. Earnhardt finished fourth in the race, one spot behind the regular driver for Osterlund, Dave Marcis. After that season, Marcis left to start his own...

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