Out of all of the Earnhardt family, Kerry Earnhardt easily has the strongest physical similarities to his father, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. He even rocks the signature mustache on his face, making the resemblance to The Intimidator even more apparent. Unsurprisingly, Kerry also found his way into auto racing as he got older.
Born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Kerry Earnhardt is the son of Dale Sr.’s first wife, Latane Brown, but she and Dale divorced when Kerry was one year old. After Brown remarried, Kerry kept the Earnhardt name, but he didn’t end up seeing Dale Earnhardt very often until the time he was 16. In the early ’90s, he made his way into motorsports with the influence of Senior, and Kerry’s half-brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Kerry Earnhardt’s Racing Career
Kerry Dale Earnhardt first jumped in the seat of a race car in 1990, but by ’92, he was racing street stocks. He also competed in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series that year, and he earned Rookie of the Year honors after securing two top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
1994 also proved to be a good year for Earnhardt, when he competed in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series. He won Rookie of the Year for this season, as well. After his continued development, he finally made his first NASCAR start in the Busch Series in 1998. Two years later in 2000, he had the opportunity to compete in ARCA races with the family team, Dale Earnhardt, Inc (DEI). Amazingly, he won four of his 11 race starts, and finished in the top-10 for each of the others.
During his Winston Cup race debut in 2000, he had the opportunity to race against his father and his half-brother at Michigan, but he ended up wrecking on the fifth lap, which took him out of the race. Speaking of wrecks, in 2001 — the same year that his father tragically died — Kerry also had a pretty bad wreck at Charlotte Motor Speedway, resulting in the death of fellow driver Blaise Alexander. Although this was a rough year, Kerry didn’t let it slow him down.
Throughout the ’02 and ’03 seasons, Kerry raced for FitzBradshaw Racing, before eventually being released. He attempted to participate in multiple races in the No. 83 Chevrolet for FitzBradshaw, but he was unsuccessful in qualifying on many occasions, leading the team to change drivers. Following this, he jumped on board with Richard Childress Racing for the ’04 and ’05 seasons in the No. 33 Chevy. He made six starts between Daytona and Talladega, all of which were restrictor plate races.
Overall, Kerry competed in seven races in the NASCAR Cup Series, 72 races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and 27 races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, before announcing his retirement. He was a strong competitor, and often found himself within the top-10 in many of his races.
Kerry Earnhardt’s Personal Life
Kerry Earnhardt married his wife Rene back in 1999. Together, they have a daughter, Kayla. They also have three other children from their previous marriages: Bobby, Jeffrey, and Blade. Kerry’s retirement has allowed him to spend some more time with his children and give them the support that they need. Notably, Bobby made a 2017 debut as a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, and Jefferey also got involved in the sport 2020. These racers mark the fourth generation of Earnhardts to get involved with the auto racing business.
On his social media pages, Kerry shows off his country lifestyle through a variety of pictures and videos. He may not be a full-time racer anymore, but he does still dabble in the sport every now and then. I wouldn’t expect a full return to the speedway anytime soon, as I’d imagine his priorities are now more focused on his children’s success.
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This post was originally published on April 2, 2021.