Danny Earnhardt Sr., the youngest son of Earnhardt family patriarch Ralph Earnhardt and Martha Earnhardt, passed away Friday morning at his home. Earnhardt Sr. worked in the suspension room at JR Motorsports, building the cars that won 58 races and three NASCAR Xfinity Series championships. He was 66.
Earnhardt Sr., father of current JRM car chief Danny Earnhardt Jr., was a longtime employee of JRM, coming in 2005 upon the company’s entry in NXS competition and was a vital part of the success the team has had since.
As the youngest child of Ralph and Martha, Danny was raised in Kannapolis, N.C. with older sisters Kaye and Cathy and older brothers Dale Sr. and Randy.
Growing up as the youngest son of dirt-track legend Ralph Earnhardt on Sedan Ave. in Kannapolis, Danny worked in his father’s race shop preparing his cars. As many in his generation did, Earnhardt worked as a pipe insulator in the Cannon Mills during the week and saved racing for the weekends.
Following his father’s death in 1973, Danny transitioned to Dale Sr.’s racing operations and was a jack-of-all trades, preparing his cars and serving as a tire carrier on the pit crew. When Dale Jr.’s career began, Danny was there as well, carrying tires as a pit crew member for the young driver.
During a recent episode of the Dale Jr. Download podcast, Danny revealed that he advocated for Dale Jr.’s talent behind the wheel, which helped lead to his nephew’s Hall of Fame career in NASCAR.
Although known to be man of few words, Danny’s actions made clear his love for his family, racing and the Dallas Cowboys.
He is survived by Sherry, his wife of 47 years, of Mooresville, N.C., son Danny Earnhardt Jr. (Sarah) of Kannapolis, and two grandchildren, Nash and Miles, and mother Martha Earnhardt.
Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.
— JR Motorsports —