NASCAR’s longtime fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt Jr., received the sport’s biggest honor Tuesday, being selected to join his father in the series’ Hall of Fame. Earnhardt will be inducted in Charlotte, North Carolina, along with the late Mike Stefanik and 87-year-old Red Farmer, who is planning to race on Talladega’s dirt track this weekend. Ralph Seagraves was named the Landmark Award winner for his contributions to the sport.
Despite never winning a series championship, Earnhardt still received 76% of the votes cast on the modern era ballot.
Junior’s grandfather, Ralph, went into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named one of the NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Junior’s father, The Intimidator, also made the list and even before finishing his career with 76 wins and a record-tying seven Cup titles.
The team-owning father even gave Dale Jr. his first big break, a full-time ride in the Busch Series in 1998. It didn’t take long for Junior to prove he was a natural — on and off the track.
He won Busch championships in each of his first two seasons, then two races as a rookie Cup driver in 2000.
Junior won 26 races before retiring as a full-time Cup driver following the 2017 season, including two Daytona 500s and the 2001 Pepsi 400, the first Cup race held at Daytona after his father’s death.
While Earnhardt will be the headliner at the induction ceremony, he’s impressed by his new classmates, too.
Stefanik won seven titles in NASCAR’s modified series and two more in the Busch North series. The nine total victories is tied for second in series history with Richie Evans and Stefanik was named the second greatest driver in modified history in 2003.
The 61-year-old Stefanik, who died from injuries sustained in a plane crash in Connecticut last September, edged out Ricky Rudd for the second spot on the ballot with 49% of the vote.
Farmer, one of the three original “Alabama Gang” members with brothers Bobby and Donnie Allison, beat out Hershel McGriff by earning 71% of the vote on the pioneer ballot.
The 87-year-old Farmer won four Late Model Sportsmen season titles, an estimated 700 to 900 races and also was a member of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. He also is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004 and this week with the big series returning to Talladega, he’s scrambling to put together a car for two nights of racing on the dirt track across the street.