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His primary competitor for the award was Matt Kenseth.
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.He struggled for most of the race, and was at points a half-lap down, only catching back up to the pack through a caution.The win was controversial because with 5 laps to go, it appeared that Earnhardt went below the yellow line to gain position, but NASCAR ruled that Matt Kenseth had forced him below the line, making it a clean pass. (born October 10, 1974), known professionally as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Jr., or just Junior, is a retired American professional stock car racing driver, team owner, and is currently an analyst for NASCAR on NBC. Earnhardt retired with 26 wins in the Cup Series, a total which put him in the top 40 in NASCAR history.He also competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driving the No. He is the son of NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Sr. (DEI), his father's team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, for much of his early Cup career, he moved to Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. and began his racing career at the late age of 17 with his dad Dale Earnhardt, competing in the Street Stock division at Concord, North Carolina's Motorsport Park.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.
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.
His father had crashed in turn 4 after Sterling Marlin made contact with his left rear bumper. shot up the track into the outside wall behind Waltrip and his son and collected Ken Schrader in the process. was pronounced dead at pm due to a basilar skull fracture.
Earnhardt scored his first win in the Direc TV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, breaking the record held by his father Earnhardt Sr.
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.
Also in 1999, he drove in 5 Winston Cup races in the No.