Dale Earnhardt is one of the most successful and respected figures in motorsports history, amassing an impressive record in just seven starts at the Brickyard 400: five top-10 finishes and an extremely popular victory in 1995. The Kannapolis, N.C., native’s NASCAR Cup Series career is well documented: seven NASCAR Cup Series championships (tying Richard Petty for the most in history, later equaled by Jimmie Johnson) and 76 Cup Series wins, including the 1998 Daytona 500. He made his Cup Series debut at the 1975 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway but focused on the Busch Series (now Xfinity Series) until signing with Rod Osterlund Racing for the 1979 Cup season.
From there, Earnhardt’s rise to stardom was meteoric as he won Rookie of the Year honors and his first Cup championship in 1980, making him the only driver in Cup history to win the top rookie award and series championship in consecutive years. Earnhardt won his other Cup Series championships in pairs, all with Richard Childress Racing: 1986-87; 1990-91; 1993-94. Earnhardt has been inducted into numerous motorsports Halls of Fame and he was part of the NASCAR Hall Fame’s inaugural class in 2010. Ironically, fellow 2020 IMS Hall of Fame Inductee Janet Guthrie made her debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway—the 1976 World 600—starting directly behind Earnhardt (inside Row 13 and inside Row 14, respectively). Guthrie finished 15th while Earnhardt dropped out early with engine problems.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum