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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to share tales about dad with fans at Darlington tribute

Dale Earnhardt and son Dale Earnhardt Jr. watch a race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 1, 2001. The elder Earnhardt died in a crash at Daytona 17 days later.
Dale Earnhardt and son Dale Earnhardt Jr. watch a race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 1, 2001. The elder Earnhardt died in a crash at Daytona 17 days later. AP

Darlington Raceway will honor the late Dale Earnhardt and the 30th anniversary of his 1987 Bojangles’ Southern 500 win with a special tribute on Sept. 2, the track announced Tuesday.

“An Evening Honoring Dale Earnhardt Sr. will feature a panel of personalities talking about the seven-time NASCAR champion, including children Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Kerry Earnhardt and longtime team owner Richard Childress.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of this event to tell stories about dad,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in a statement the track released to announce the event. “His driving style and Darlington really had a lot of similarities; just how tough and gritty they were. It was always one of his favorite tracks and that showed with how much success he had here.”

In February, Dale Jr. tweeted that tears welled as he watched a video of him and his dad that NASCAR had just tweeted to its 3.15 million followers.

The Darlington event is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. in the driver’s meeting tent in the Cale Yarborough/Monster Energy Series garage, after the Southern 500 Parade. NBC lead announcer Rick Allen will emcee the event.

Fans can buy tickets to the event for $87, which includes two beverage coupons, light hors d’oeuvres and a 1:24-scale Earnhardt Jr. throwback No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS die cast.

Tickets are available at www.DarlingtonRaceway.com and by calling 843-395-8802. A grandstand ticket or infield admission to Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 is required for purchase.

Fans attending the event must enter the track through Gate 32 off Race Track Road. Parking will be at Gate 32. Guests will enter the infield through the Turn 1 pedestrian tunnel.

Darlington president Kerry Tharp said track officials “are extremely grateful” to Dale Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Kerry Earnhardt and Richard Childress for supporting the event and sharing Dale Earnhardt Sr. stories.

“We look forward to honoring one of NASCAR’s most popular champions and Hall of Fame members.,” Tharp said. “Dale Earnhardt Sr. had a fondness for Darlington Raceway, so it’s only fitting that one of the most intimidating tracks on the circuit would host an event recognizing ‘The Intimidator.’ 

Earnhardt’s nine NASCAR Cup Series wins at Darlington rank second all-time – David Pearson had 10 wins. Earnhardt He won in 1982, 1986, 1987 (twice), 1989, 1990 (twice), 1993 and 1994. He also won three races in what is now the NASCAR XFinity series – 1986, 1987 and 1991.

The event is part of the track’s throwback weekend celebrating the 1985-89 era of NASCAR.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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