Dale Earnhardt Jr., 15-time winner of NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver award and two-time champion of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, was among three new members selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The 45-year-old Earnhardt joins his father, Dale Earnhardt, as a member of the Hall of Fame along with nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik as part of the modern-era balloting. Legendary “Alabama Gang” member Red Farmer was enshrined with the Pioneer selection, and Ralph Seagraves, who helped forge the NASCAR-Winston relationship and moved the sport to the modern era, was named winner of the Landmark Award.
“Everybody on that list belongs in there, and it doesn’t seem that there’s one that’s more deserving than the other,” Earnhardt Jr. said upon hearing the news. “I’m young to that aspect of it, and I’m young enough to wait my turn. There’s a lot of names that aren’t on that list that need to be on that list. We’ll argue about that every year. I’m just honored already.”
As a driver, Earnhardt Jr. has won 50 NASCAR events (26 in the Cup Series, 24 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series), including the Daytona 500 in both 2004 and 2014. As a car owner, Earnhardt Jr. has won five NASCAR Xfinity Series championships, beginning with back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005 with Martin Truex Jr. and Chance2 Motorsports. Chase Elliott won the first for JR Motorsports in 2014, William Byron earned the 2017 championship and Tyler Reddick won in 2018.
Between the two organizations, Earnhardt Jr.’s cars have won 64 races, 48 with JR Motorsports and another 16 with Chance2.
Earnhardt Jr. and his crew at Dirty Mo Media chronicled the announcement live during taping of the popular Dale Jr. Download podcast.
“I have thought it might be a good idea to do my podcast at the same time as they are making those announcements. Whether we are chosen or not, I’m already honored, and it will be fun experience to sort of document that.”
With his election, the Earnhardts become the sixth father-son combination to be enshrined. The others are Bobby and Davey Allison, Lee and Richard Petty, Ned and Dale Jarrett, Buck and Buddy Baker, and William H.G. “Big Bill” France and Bill France Jr.
The Pettys are the only family to have three members enshrined, as engine builder Maurice Petty is alongside his father and brother in the Hall.
The Class of 2021 will be inducted at the Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte next year.