Racing is in the blood of the Earnhardt family as they have their fingerprints over the sport and NASCAR. The passion for competing on the track went much further than Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his brother Kerry Earnhardt. His sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller ventured that route, but her journey on that path never blossomed.
Kelley Earnhardt Miller’s racing career
It didn’t take long for Kelley Earnhardt Miller to follow her father’s footsteps by taking up a career in racing.
Earnhardt Miller ventured that path as she took part in races throughout much of her teenage years. Alongside her brothers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kerry Earnhardt, they all competed on the race track.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. had high aspirations for his daughter as ESPN outlined that he believed that she had what it took to be a better driver than her brother Dale Jr. The skill was there, and Earnhardt Jr. saw firsthand how talented his older sister was behind the wheel.
“She could have had a lot of opportunities had it been a different environment and a different culture and a different climate,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “She was hardheaded and tough and drove hard. She would eventually have polished her abilities to where she would have been a pretty good race car driver at the higher level.”
However, all that saw her elect to step away before things truly headed down a promising path.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s sister Kelley reveals why she halted her promising racing career
Growing up the daughter of one of the most prominent NASCAR drivers in the sport’s history made it natural for Kelley Earnhardt Miller to venture into racing.
Earnhardt Miller had every means to pursue a racing career, but those ventures were harder to come by due to the stigma of girls competing in the sport. She competed on various tracks such as Hickory Motor Speedway and Myrtle Beach Speedway throughout her teenage years.
As she raced, Earnhardt Miller also pursued her aspirations off the track. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
During an interview with In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Earnhardt Miller voiced that the stigma around women in racing and business pursuits significantly impacted her decision to leave the career path.
“It was such a different time when I raced in the mid-90s,” Earnhardt Miller said. “It still was weird to go to the race shop because the guys were hanging out there, telling stories or do whatever they were doing. That was the time they got to go talk guy-talk.
“The girls weren’t supposed to be around or listen. Society was kinda like that, too. Girls aren’t supposed to be driving racecars.”
Although her racing career never got the chance to truly take off, Earnhardt Miller has maintained a strong pulse on the sport through the business side.
Future forever tied to NASCAR
Kelley Earnhardt Miller’s decision to step away from racing didn’t end her involvement with the sport.
Earnhardt Miller has remained tied to the hip with her brother through their incredibly close bond. She has held the business role for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for over the last two decades as a significant part of his decision-making process.
She helped him land various corporate deals that helped increase his popularity and reach as a driver and businessman. Earnhardt Miller has been the vice president and co-owner of JR Motorsports alongside Dale Jr. since 2001. She also played a pivotal role in helping bring Danica Patrick to NASCAR as she drove for the company in the Nationwide Series in her first three seasons.
Earnhardt Miller has her fingerprints all over the sport, especially with venture associated with Dale Jr. Miller is on the Board of Directors for The Dale Jr. Foundation, which JR Motorsports reported has raised more than $8.1 million and helped 75 different charities helping the underprivileged youth.
She has won various awards for her work on the business side of NASCAR while publishing a book titled Drive: 9 Lesson to Win in Business and In Life. Earnhardt Miller’s racing career may have ended more than two decades ago, but she continues to make a pivotal impact on the sport.