Dale Earnhardt Jr. elected as first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Famer

Dale Earnhardt Jr. elected as first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Famer
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been elected as a first-ballot inductee in the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been elected as a first-ballot inductee in the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced Tuesday its three inductees with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Stefanik and Red Farmer set for enshrinement next winter. Ralph Seagraves is the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

Earnhardt is a two-time Daytona 500 winner who was chosen as NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver 15 times. He led all nominees with 76 percent of the vote, winning induction on his first year on the ballot.

The Kannapolis, N.C. native competed from 1999 to 2017 before he retired with 631 starts, 26 wins and 15 poles. Earnhardt retired from full-time competition in 2017, with 26 premier-series wins and two championships in what is now called the Xfinity Series in his career.

He’s the son of late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, but made his own path and served as the face of NASCAR as for much of his career.

He began his career at family-owned Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) winning back-to-back Xfinity Series titles and 13 races in two full-time seasons. He moved to the Cup Series where he won in his 12th career start.

Ten of his 26 Cup victories came at Daytona and Talladega, including Daytona 500 wins in 2004 and 2014.

The 45-year-old has stayed active in the sport since stepping away from a full-time role.

In 2006, Earnhardt founded JR Motorsports. The team has three Xfinity Series championships and 47 wins. Earnhardt currently serves as an analyst for NBC Sports and hosts the popular podcast ‘Dale Jr. Download.’

Mike Stefanik is one of just two drivers with nine NASCAR championships. He appeared on 49 percent of ballots cast in his seventh year of eligibility. He had 74 Whelen Modified Tour wins in a career that included Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 1999. Stefanik died in September of 2019 in a plane crash at age 61.

Red Farmer still races at age 87 and was an original member of The Alabama Gang. Farmer was a four-time regional champion in NASCAR’s early days, made just 36 Cup Series starts, but was a three-time Late Model Sportsman (now Xfinity Series) champion and a one-time Modified title winner.

Ralph Seagraves is most known for helping form a partnership between NASCAR and the Winston brand for the Winston Racing Series.

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