Sports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Used His Popularity to Grow His Enormous Net Worth

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the son of one of the most iconic NASCAR drivers in the history of auto racing, whose career was cut short by the deadly accident that claimed his life in 2001. Earnhardt Jr. used his father’s death as inspiration to do his part to live up to the family name on the track, and he has turned out to be among the sport’s greats himself.

He spent nearly two decades as one of NASCAR’s top drivers and has stayed in the industry since retiring as a TV analyst. Given his success over a long period of time, Earnhardt Jr. has become one of the richest drivers in the world. Here is how much he’s earned and what he’s worth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s early life and career

Earnhardt Jr. was born in 1974 and raised in the NASCAR hotbed of North Carolina. He attended a high-performance driving school at a young age and began racing competitively at 17 years old.

He moved up in divisions as a 19-year-old and started racing at short tracks around the Carolinas. He began his NASCAR career driving for his father’s team in 1996, when he was competing in the lower-level Busch Series races part-time, eventually graduating to full-time in 1998.

That was also the year that Earnhardt Jr. made his debut in NASCAR’s top series. He would break out in 2000, competing for the Rookie of the Year award as he ended that season with two wins, three top-five finishes, and five finishes in the top 10, as well as earning the pole for two of the races that season.

Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death and the prime of Earnhardt Jr.’s career

Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a tragic crash during the running of the 2001 Daytona 500, the first race of the NASCAR season. Earnhardt Jr. didn’t let that deter him from continuing his racing career, and he became one of the sport’s most successful — and popular drivers — until he retired following the 2017 season.

Over his 19 years in the Cup Series, he ended up with 26 wins in 631 races, with 149 top-five finishes, 260 top-10 finishes, and he qualified for 15 poles. His average finish over his Cup career was 15.8th place, and he was still running at the finish of 564 of his races.

He added another 24 wins in 141 races in what is currently called the Xfinity Series. Among Earnhardt Jr.’s other notable accomplishments are two Daytona 500 victories, 15 straight Monster Energy Cup Series Most Popular Driver awards, and the 2017 Bill France Award of Excellence.

Career earnings and net worth

Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned more than $95 million in the Cup Series, and nearly $5.5 million in the lower series, giving him more than $100 million in career earnings from racing.

He is also an owner and has a number of endorsement and licensing deals, giving him more money in addition to what he made on the track during his lengthy career. He also serves as an analyst for NBC’s NASCAR coverage. At the peak of his career, Earnhardt Jr. was making $25-30 million per year, with about $22 million of that coming from his endorsements.

He made at least $20 million annually from 2004 to 2017, and he was NASCAR’s highest-earning driver from 2008 to 2015, with a career-high $30 million coming in the first year of that stretch.

Earnhardt Jr. also owns several businesses outside of racing, including a production company that creates TV shows. Overall, Earnhardt Jr.’s net worth is estimated to be about $300 million.