His number 1 competitor into the award are Matt Kenseth
2000 was Earnhardt’s breakout 12 months throughout the Mug Collection, the guy competed toward Raybestos NASCAR Novice of the year Award within the 2000. Kenseth outran Earnhardt from the year-starting Daytona five hundred. Earnhardt obtained his first profit throughout the DirecTV five-hundred in the Texas System Speedway, breaking the listing stored of the their dad Earnhardt Sr. for fewest begins by a drivers to make his first win inside the NASCAR’s “progressive time” because of the winning in the 12th initiate, and at Richmond Around the globe Raceway. The guy turned the first newbie so you’re able to win the latest The-Superstar exhibition competition.
Earnhardt starred an associate in the recreating you to definitely Winston Glass milestone into the 2000 as he competed together with his dad and you will 50 % of-sister Kerry regarding Pepsi eight hundred in the Michigan Globally Speedway. That celebration was only next date you to definitely a father got raced against one or two sons – Lee Petty and his awesome two sons Richard and you can Maurice got previously accomplished the latest task.
When you look at the 2001, the major enjoy of the season took place for the Daytona five hundred. Due to the fact Earnhardt with his teammate Michael Waltrip raced into finish range, the guy complete next so you can Waltrip sugar daddy Texas. His dad got damaged subsequently cuatro just after Sterling Marlin made experience of their leftover rear bumper. Earnhardt Sr. increased the track for the exterior wall surface behind Waltrip and you may their man and you will collected Ken Schrader along the way. Earnhardt Sr. try noticable dry within 5:sixteen pm on account of a basilar skull break.
In the aftermath, many disgruntled fans sent passing threats to ing him with the crash; Earnhardt and Waltrip one another asked one fans eliminated blaming somebody having Earnhardt Sr.’s dying and you can both the local police and you can NASCAR analysis to your the latest crash eliminated Marlin of every wedding. Earnhardt raced from the Rockingham another week-end, but completed in 43rd-place immediately following an excellent ruin with the first lap that seemed eerily similar to his dad’s wreck just each week before. After on the seasons, Earnhardt undergone a revival, starting with an emotional earn at the Pepsi 400, that has been as well as the earliest battle kept in the Daytona due to the fact his dad’s dying.
Earnhardt encountered the principal auto of your competition, top 115 from 160 laps. Into the past resume, he was able to do something off sixth so you’re able to first place on course of one or two laps, that have Waltrip carrying off of the industry due to the fact Earnhardt got the latest checkered flag. eight hundred within Dover, which had been the original Glass battle after the September 11 periods since the modern arranged battle from the The latest Hampshire Motor Speedway is put off up until the stop of the year. Adopting the battle, he did a polish victory lap if you’re holding a big Western banner out the driver’s front screen.
The guy won this new MBNA Cal Ripken Jr
On the Slide, Earnhardt took his 2nd restrictor plate profit as he acquired new EA Football five hundred during the Talladega since a crash unfolded on straight back immediately you to brought about Bobby Labonte in order to flip more and have obtained fifteen other vehicles. The fresh Talladega earn acquired Earnhardt an effective Winston Zero Bull 5 $1 million incentive. He had been docked 25 items, not, just after his vehicle unsuccessful blog post-competition assessment. Using this profit, DEI swept around three of five restrictor plate events to own 2001, merely failing to victory the newest springtime Talladega competition. The guy done the fresh new 2001 year eighth about facts standings that have about three victories, nine Top 5s, and you will 15 Ideal tens, along with a couple poles.
From inside the 2002, Earnhardt Jr. had good roller-coaster season. He battled just after lasting a great concussion regarding a head-into accident into outside wall surface from the Ca race from inside the April – an accident he did not know so you can up until middle-Sep. In the about three races pursuing the California, the guy finished zero better than 30th. Yet not, Earnhardt Jr. rallied so you can brush one another Talladega racing (top a dominating 133 off 188 laps throughout the springtime battle), a couple of Bud Pole Awards and you will a keen 11th-put finish on standings that have 11 top-fives and you will sixteen ideal-ten ends.