left.gif (848 bytes) main.gif (882 bytes)
News The Earnhardt Connection
Text links are located at the bottom of the page.

Another Earnhardt follows in footsteps
Andrew Booth
(Jan. 22, 1999)

DAYTONA BEACH -- Dale Earnhardt is just now getting accustomed to watching his youngest son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., drive his No. 3 Chevrolet on the Busch Grand National Series.

Now Earnhardt will also have to keep an eye on his oldest son, Kerry Earnhardt, who will drive his first full year in the Busch Grand National Series in owner Doug Taylor's No. 40 Chevrolet.

"I'm happy for him,"' Dale Sr. said about Kerry's full-time ride. "I think he's work hard for that team. He's a very good worker and he has stayed positive. We'll see what happens. We'll give him all the support we can."

Kerry Earnhardt tested two days earlier this week at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Feb. 13 season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 and posted the 13th fastest lap with a speed of 186.792 mph.

The testing session was the second time the 29-year-old Earnhardt had piloted a race car at DIS. In 1993, Earnhardt qualified 22nd and finished seventh in the Florida 200, a Goody's Dash Series event.

Even with his previous experience at DIS, Earnhardt says he's still got plenty to learn about the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

"I forgot about this place since then," Earnhardt said at the conclusion of the testing session. "I forgot what it's all about."

To help refresh Earnhardt's memory during his first day of testing at DIS, he phoned his dad, who has won 31 time at DIS, the most of any driver.

"I called and talked to him a little bit and he was asking questions about how the car (was doing)," Kerry said. "He's a big help to me. I can call him with a question no one else can answer. He knows racing."

Kerry Earnhardt got his first taste of racing in 1992 competing against his younger brother Dale Jr. at a short track in Concord, N.C. In 1993, Kerry Earnhardt raced in the Goody's Dash Series before moving back to a short track at Hickory, N.C., for three years. Last year, Earnhardt raced in Asheville, N.C., and finished fourth driving late model stocks.

While working as a service advisor at his father's car dealership in Newton, N.C., Earnhardt was introduced to Taylor by one of the salesmen.

Taylor inquired into Earnhardt's background and invited him to come along for a test session at Hickory with his current driver at the time Kevin Lepage. Soon after that test session, Earnhardt started working in Taylor's race shop and now he's got a full-time ride.

"I was there getting to know the equipment, but I also was making friends with the guys on the team before I became the driver," Earnhardt said. "I feel like you have to build a relationship with a team to be successful in racing."

Earnhardt ran two races for Taylor last season finishing 23rd at Myrtle Beach, S.C., and 26th at South Boston, Va.

"Doug is backing me 100 percent," Earnhardt said. "He's putting all of his confidence behind me."

With a famous racing name, a lot is going to be expected of Kerry Earnhardt in 1999 GN season. Kerry's brother Dale Jr. won the 1998 Busch GN title in his first full year on the circuit and his father Dale Sr. has 71 career Winston Cup victories and seven championships.

"My brother has set a high stick way above everybody else and it's a high stick that's going to take a lot (of work) to reach," Earnhardt said. "I feel like we're capable of it. The team is working well. (The car) has been running awesome. Everybody on the team is working so well together. It's going to be a good year."