Dale Earnhardt Jr. has always been in the spotlight when he races
at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 42-year-old veteran from nearby
Kannapolis, North Carolina, first raced at the speedway when he was
Earnhardt’s success since, which includes 26 Monster Energy
NASCAR Cup Series victories, two NASCAR XFINITY Series titles and 14
NMPA Most Popular Driver awards, has made him one of the most iconic
drivers in the sport’s illustrious history.
He’ll make his final Charlotte Motor Speedway start as a full-time
driver in the Oct. 8 Bank of America 500. As a salute to the longtime fan
favorite, here are four memorable moments from Earnhardt’s career to
date at Charlotte:
It was billed as “Countdown to E Day,” a salute to Earnhardt’s first
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the 1999 Coca-Cola 600. The
son of seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt debuted in NASCAR’s
premier series 24 years after his famous father, who drove an Ed Negre-
owned No. 8 Dodge to 22nd place in the 1975 Coca-Cola 600.
Driving a No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, Earnhardt kicked
off his Cup Series career with a 16th-place finish after qualifying an
STAR OF STARS
No rookie had ever won NASCAR’s Monster Energy All-Star Race
when a fresh-faced Earnhardt took the green flag for his first All-Star
start on May 20, 2000.
One hour and 70 laps later, Earnhardt was in the history books as
the first rookie to win the All-Star Race after a stirring drive to the front
in the closing laps.
“That win here in the All-Star Race was, and still is, the favorite
moment of my career –being in Victory Lane with my dad,” Earnhardt
told FOX Sports in May.
NO. 8 ON THE CAR, NO. 1 ON THE CHARTS
No driver forgets their first victory. Nor do they forget the first time
they top the chart in qualifying, which Earnhardt did only five days after
he won the All-Star Race in 2000.
Earnhardt blistered Charlotte’s asphalt in turning a record
29.027-second, 186.034-mph lap that sent the rocking crowd to its feet
and the red No. 8 to P1.
THREE’S A CROWD
The 2012 Monster Energy Open featured a cast of stars including
Earnhardt, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.
Earnhardt started third but asserted his dominance from the drop of
the green. He led all 40 laps on his way to a victory that made him only
the third driver, along with Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, to win all four
of NASCAR’s special events (Clash, Duel, All-Star Race, Open).
By Aaron Burns