Americans dream of driving fast, of flying low and loud down a long stretch of interstate until the world blurs and fades in the rearview mirror. While few people ever reach speeds of 200 miles per hour, some families make a business out of it, and none has done it with more breathtaking abandon than the Earnhardts.
Even after Dale Earnhardt died behind the wheel of his famed black No. 3 on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, the Earnhardts offspring have kept the throttle hammered down. Just months later, Dale s son and namesake was back at Daytona and rode to victory on the same track that had killed his father, perpetuating the family legacy for a history-making third generation.
The Earnhardts connection with racing began back in the 1950s, when a young man up and quit his soul-crushing job in a North Carolina cotton mill to fulfill his dream of racing cars. Ralph Earnhardt developed into one of the finest dirt-track drivers in the South, founding a racing dynasty that continues to shape NASCAR history. His son, Dale, not only followed in his father s tire tracks but went on to become the greatest driver the sport has ever known.
Nicknamed the Intimidator because of his aggressive, leave-no-rival-unwrecked style, Dale Sr. collected at least as many enemies as victories, building a fan base that to this day remains rabidly devoted to his memory. Before his fatal crash, Ralph s son had won seven cup championships, tying Richard Petty s record for the most titles ever. Dale Jr., the Earnhardts third NASCAR champion, is still the circuit s most popular driver, upholding the family s heritage while struggling to be his own man.
In Earnhardt Nation, Jay Busbee, Yahoo s chief writer on racing, delves deep into the complex and fraught father-son relationships that reverberate through the Earnhardt lineage, as well as the rivalries large and small that have threatened to break the family s grip on the sport. This is a uniquely American story one that thrillingly hurtles through a half century of NASCAR, like the races at speeds the rest of us can only imagine.
Advance Praise for Earnhardt Nation
A complicated family. A Paul Bunyan like legend. A nation in mourning. A sport in transition. Chronicling any one of those topics by itself would be like trying to run Talladega in a minivan. But Jay Busbee steers us through it all like an Earnhardt racing in the draft. Ryan McGee, ESPN.com senior writer and SportsCenter correspondent
Whether you loved Dale Earnhardt Sr. like a hero or pulled against him, Earnhardt Nation is an absolute must-read Like so many others in the sport, I have lived this book, yet it still opened my eyes and ears to stories I d never seen or heard before. Larry McReynolds, Fox NASCAR analyst and Dale Sr. s Daytona 500 winning crew chief
Jay Busbee drives us down a winding road into three generations of NASCAR s biggest and most popular stars. Once Busbee takes you lap by lap through the tragic events of February 18, 2001, you won t be able to put this book down. Mike Joy, lead NASCAR announcer, Fox Sports
In capturing the Earnhardt family s legacy, Jay Busbee conveys the importance of these larger-than-life characters during a critical time for NASCAR. This book has stories I read for the first time, and each reinforced my appreciation for the role the Earnhardts have played in the growth of the sport. Mike Helton, president of NASCAR"