The name “Earnhardt” is synonymous with the Daytona International Speedway.
It is a track at which the late Dale Earnhardt had very much success, consisting of 35 total victories, including his legendary 1998 triumph in the Daytona 500. His son, Dale Jr., has 13 victories of his own at the 2.5-mile oval, including a victory in the 2004 Daytona 500.
It is also the track that took Dale Earnhardt’s life.
So perhaps it is only fitting that the 7-time champion’s grandson should make first start in a stock car at the World Center of Racing.
Bobby Dale Earnhardt, the 23-year old native of Rockingham, NC, was part of a three-day ARCA test session at Daytona International Speedway this week. Son of Dale’s first born, Kerry Earnhardt, Bobby participated in the session in preparation for the February 12th Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA race at Daytona.
ARCA is the next step below the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and is often a critical stepping-stone in getting to NASCAR’s biggest stage.
Bobby was not particularly fast, placing 50th overall out of 58 cars during the test. But the test session wasn’t about speed for Earnhardt; it was about learning, and getting comfortable behind the wheel of a full-size stock car.
Something he did very well.
What impressed me most about Earnhardt wasn’t his speed, nor his ability to control the car, but rather his attitude. Earnhardt showed up to the track knowing that he has a lot to learn. He didn’t show up with any sort of display of entitlement; not by a long shot. Rather, he simply showed up to learn from others and to get adjusted to something he’s never done before.
Just because his last name is Earnhardt does not automatically mean he has talent, and Bobby knows that well. However, with this work ethic, there’s no doubt he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in due time.
Earnhardt has come a long way since racing lawn mowers back in the day. With his first stock car experience under his belt, Bobby can now focus on getting ready for the biggest race of his career, coming up in just a few short weeks.
Many eyes will be watching to see if the grandson of a legend can do the family name proud. But considering his work ethic, attitude, and the people he’s been able to learn from, something tells me that Bobby Dale Earnhardt is going to do just fine.