A first for Earnhardt Jr.

Sunday, April 2, 2000 – Third generation racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his first career win in the NASCAR Cup Series with his victory in the DirecTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The win came in just his 12th career start at the Cup level. Earnhardt Jr. finished nearly six seconds ahead of runner-up Jeff Burton.

Prior to his move to Cup, Earnhardt Jr. was a two-time champion in what is known today as the NASCAR XFINITY Series. His father, Dale Earnhardt, won in his 16th career start and won seven Cup championships before his death in Feb., 2001. Grandfather Ralph Earnhardt was a multi-time track champion in the Carolinas and made 51 starts in the premier series during his racing career.

Although he had two victories that season, Earnhardt Jr. was beaten out by Matt Kenseth for Rookie of the Year honors.

Earnhardt Jr. retired from full-time competition at the close of 2017 with 26 victories, 149 top-five and 149 top-10 finishes in 631 starts. He was named the series’ most popular driver for 15 consecutive seasons.

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