NASCAR: Earnhardt streak extends to 47 years at Daytona

Jeffrey Earnhardt, JD Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeffrey Earnhardt, JD Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Jeffrey Earnhardt’s start in last weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway extended a family streak to 47 years.

Jeffrey Earnhardt has competed full-time for JD Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series ever since NASCAR returned from the 10-week hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic last spring, and he continued that role this season.

While he crashed out of last weekend’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway and was scored in 37th place as a result of it, the driver of the #0 Chevrolet made history.

Thanks to the 31-year-old Mooresville, North Carolina native competing in this race, an Earnhardt has now competed in NASCAR on some level in each of the last 47 years.

NASCAR hasn’t seen a season without an Earnhardt competing since 1974, which was one year before Dale Sr. made his Cup Series debut.

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Before Dale Sr., there was Ralph Earnhardt, who competed in the Cup Series in eight different seasons from 1956 to 1966, although he never competed full-time. Dale Sr. ultimately competed from 1975 to 2001, when he was tragically killed in a last-lap crash in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

By that point, his son Dale Jr. had already been competing in the sport. He made his Xfinity Series debut in 1996 and his Cup Series debut in 2000. To this day, he has competed in the Xfinity Series on some level in every season since 1996, except for the 2000 campaign. He co-owns the JR Motorsports Xfinity Series team.

Dale Jr. competed full-time in the Cup Series from 2000 to 2017. He has made one-off appearances in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports ever since stepping away from full-time Cup Series competition, and he is expected to do so again this season, likely at Darlington Raceway in May.

Jeffrey, meanwhile, has competed in NASCAR on some level in each of the last 13 seasons now. He made his Xfinity Series debut in 2009 and competed in the series from 2011 to 2015, including the 2014 season as a full-time driver. He returned in 2019 as a part-time driver before landing his current full-time ride last year.

Jeffrey also competed part-time in the Truck Series in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He competed in the Cup Series from 2015 to 2019. Save for missing the two road course races, he was a full-time driver in the 2017 season.

But the 2020 season was the first season without an Earnhardt in the Cup Series since 1974.

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One other Earnhardt, Bobby Dale, has competed in the sport, doing so in select Xfinity Series races from 2017 to 2019.