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5 Moments that Made Dale Earnhardt Jr. a Hall of Famer

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a NASCAR Hall of Famer, driver, broadcaster, podcaster, and 15-time Most Popular Driver Award Winner. Some fans feel that Earnhardt Jr. earned his Hall of Fame nod for his notoriety and contributions off the track, but, we are here to offer what he did to earn the nod on the track. Here are the 5 moments Dale Earnhardt Jr. made himself a Hall of Famer.

  • This list are not necessarily the best moments of Earnhardt Jr.’s career, but they are the moments where he showcased his driving prowess. However, there is obviously a lot of overlap between these two ideas.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. won 26 races in 631 career races. While he never won a Championship, he was a genuine threat to win every week for most of his career.
  • Fans still love Dale Earnhardt Jr. to this day. He is beloved as a broadcaster, team owner, and podcast nowadays in addition to his occasional driving escapades.

#5 Dale Jr. Wins at Bristol From 30th (2004)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a career year in 2004, and one of his best moments came during the Bristol Night Race. He won the Xfinity Series race the night before, but, he was behind the 8-ball the next night in the Cup Series. He qualified a distant 30th, and only once in Bristol history had a driver won from 30th place.

Well, Earnhardt Jr. not only won the race, but he also dominated. He led 295 of 500 laps that night to win by 4.390 seconds. To this day, he is only the 2nd driver in Bristol history to win from that deep in the field or worse. He also coined the iconic phrase, “It’s Bristol Baby” in victory lane.

#4 Dale Jr. Beats Hall of Famer for 2 Straight Xfinity Series Championships (1998 and 1999)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. collected two consecutive Xfinity Series Championships in 1998 and 1999. What makes this even more impressive is who he beat for both of these titles. The battle was between Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth, also a NASCAR Hall of Famer.

Earnhardt Jr. got the better of Kenseth both times. In 1999, Earnhardt Jr. also had to fend off 2000 Xfinity Series Champion Jeff Green. While not at the Cup level, Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed he could go toe to toe with Hall of Fame talent these years.

#3 Dale Jr. Wins 2 Daytona 500s (2004 and 2014)

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s prowess was on superspeedways, and that was on display in his two Daytona 500 wins in 2004 and 2014. In 2004, Earnhardt Jr. was right behind Tony Stewart with no drafting help. Somehow, Dale Jr. found a way around Stewart to take home the win with one of the most impressive superspeedway passes of that generation.

In 2014, Earnhardt Jr. led the most laps, including 54 of the final 69 laps to take home the win. A race that featured 42 lead changes saw Earnhardt Jr. fend off every challenge late, and he even beat future Hall of Famers like Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Gordon.

#2 Dale Jr. Wins 4 in a Row at Talladega (2001-2003)

Dale Jr. was the best Cup Series superspeedway driver of the early 2000s. He and teammate Michael Waltrip combined for an unstoppable duo. A track often defined by random winners and luck, Earnhardt Jr. conquered 4 times in a row.

From the fall of 2001 until the spring of 2003, no other driver entered victory lane at Talladega. These were not fluke wins either, as Dale Jr. led the most laps in 3 of the 4 races. He was just that much better.

#1 Dale Jr. Helps NASCAR Heal (2001 Pepsi 400)

The 2001 Pepsi 400 is understandably and appropriately remembered for the iconic run in the dwindling laps by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the wake of his father’s death almost 5 months prior. As amazing as that is, sometimes the race Earnhardt Jr. ran during the day can get lost. He led 116 laps on the day, and no one could get to his bumper.

From lap 27 onward, no one passed Dale Jr. for the lead under green. Anyone besides Earnhardt led laps only due to pit cycles or pit strategy. He was unbeatable that day, which was a fitting tribute to his great father, Dale Earnhardt.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had quite the incredible career. What are some other moments that we missed?

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Joshua Lipowski

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