Dale Earnhart, The Legend

Essay by dimckJunior High, 9th gradeA+, July 2004

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If anyone was ever born to drive a black car, it was Dale Earnhardt. On the track he never backed down, and he dusted himself off and walked away from more than his share of wrecks. He was and probably always will be a legend. A legend, which has brought the sport of NASCAR racing to a different level. Even in death he continues to be idealized as the best and most influential driver in NASCAR history. So it may come as a surprise to learn that the first care in which Earnhardt raced was hot pink.

The year was 1970, and Earnhardt's neighbors owned a 1956 Ford Club Sedan that they were willing to contribute to 19-year-old Dale's budding career as a driver. Dale's father, Ralph, had built the engine, and some family friends, brothers and a cousin help tune it. It was definitely a family project. When it came time to paint the car it was supposed to be avocado with a purple flake roof, but there was some mistake and the color came out hot pink when it dried on the car.

Since he had just started racing, he did not have much money, so he had to leave it pink. He had a very tough beginning to get to Winston Cup racing, but his determination was one of the things that attracted the fans.

One of his earliest memories as a boy was watching his father race. All he wanted to do was following in is dad's footsteps. However, his dad died of a heart attack while working on a carburetor in his backyard garage. Dale was devastated over his death, but his father's death was a turning point in Dale's career. His mother gave Dale his father's cars. Dale no longer had to run the...