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Kenseth outran Earnhardt in the season-opening Daytona 500.

Earnhardt scored his first win in the Direc TV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, breaking the record held by his father Earnhardt Sr.

and began his racing career at the late age of 17 with his father, competing in the Street Stock division at Concord, North Carolina's Motorsport Park.

Earnhardt's success at Daytona International Speedway throughout his career earned him the nickname "Pied Piper" of Daytona. Earnhardt retired with 26 wins in the Cup Series, a total that ranks him in the top 40 in NASCAR history.

His maternal grandfather, Robert Gee Sr., was a NASCAR car builder. His parents divorced shortly after he was born, and he and Kelley lived with Brenda until their house was destroyed in a fire when he was six years old.

In 2001, the major event of the season occurred on February 18, in the final corner of the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

As Earnhardt and his teammate Michael Waltrip raced to the finish line, he finished second to Waltrip.

Earnhardt raced at Rockingham the following weekend, but finished in 43rd-place after a wreck on the first lap that looked eerily similar to his father's wreck just a week earlier.

Later in the season, Earnhardt made a comeback, beginning with an emotional win at the Pepsi 400, which was also the first race held at Daytona since his father's death.

1998, 1999 Busch Series Champion2004, 2014 Daytona 500 Winner2000 The Winston Winner2003, 2008 Budweiser Shootout Winner2003, 2004, 2008, 2015, 2016 Can-Am Duel Winner, 4 straight wins at Talladega Superspeedway (Fall 2001-Spring 2003), 5 time NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion as owner: 2004, 2005, 2014, 2017, 2018 Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Jr., (born October 10, 1974) is an American, semi-retired, professional stock car racing driver.

He is a team owner, author, and an analyst for NASCAR on NBC.

for fewest starts by a driver to earn his first victory in NASCAR's "modern era" by winning in his 12th start, and also at Richmond International Raceway. Earnhardt played a part in recreating one Winston Cup milestone in 2000 when he competed with his father and half-brother Kerry in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

That occasion was only the second time that a father had raced against two sons – Lee Petty and his two sons Richard and Maurice had previously accomplished the feat.

Earnhardt won consecutive NASCAR Busch Series Championships in 19 barely edging Matt Kenseth.