It’s hard to imagine a Daytona 500 without an Earnhardt. It’s hard, but it may just happen in February.
With Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s retirement, nephew Jeffrey Earnhardt is the only one of the family still racing in NASCAR, that is until he lost his ride earlier this week. The owners of Circle Sport-TMG Racing decided to split. That left Earnhardt with no team just 9 weeks from the start of the season.
Forbes.com reports there has been an Earnhardt family member racing in the Daytona 500 every year going back to 1979. That’s when Dale, Sr. first hit the track. He wasn’t the first. That distinction belongs to family racing patriarch Ralph Earnhardt. He ran Daytona in 1962, ’63 and ’64. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. set the standard running the 500 every year starting in 1979 till 2001 when he was killed in a crash on the final lap.
This grandson and nephew of the more famous Earnhardt drivers hasn’t had nearly the success in racing, with an average start of 36th in 2017 and average finish of 33rd. That doesn’t mean uncle Dale, Jr. isn’t pushing for another team to step up.
In a tweet, Earnhardt, Jr. suggests that maybe Front Row Motorsports would be a good fit, but that was before they filled their seats. There’s no clear direction right now, and with the clock ticking faster towards opening day, this remaining Earnhardt is running out of options to keep the family streak alive.