Dale Jarrett produced a respectable NASCAR career that spanned over two decades in the sport. Jarrett carved out his own lane in the business despite being the son of another legendary driver in Ned Jarrett. However, his entire driving career nearly came to an end before he took off into stardom.
Dale Jarrett’s NASCAR career
Dale Jarrett strung together a NASCAR career that spanned over two decades that featured a steady level of success.
Being the son of legendary driver Ned Jarrett placed a significant amount of pressure on his shoulders. Dale carved out his own path in the spot as he won a Cup Series championship (1999), earned 32 Cup Series wins, and 260 top-ten finishes.
During the prime of his career in the 1990s, he earned seven top-five finishes in the Cup Series points standings, including finishing in the top three from 1996-1999. Jarrett also won the Daytona 500 three times, which he is one of only six drivers to accomplish that feat, according to USA TODAY Sports.
He also earned 11 Xfinity Series wins while finishing fourth in the points standings twice. His overall success helped him receive an induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014.
Before his professional racing career ever got off the ground, Jarrett nearly saw it all come to a sudden devastating halt in his first race.
Dale Jarrett’s NASCAR career almost ended in a devastating accident
Two years before Dale Jarrett received the opportunity to become a NASCAR Cup Series driver, his life and career almost took a disastrous turn.
During the 1980 Charlotte Sportsman 300, Jarrett went through a traumatic experience in his first race on a big track. Things took a scary development with three laps to go after Gene Glover’s No. 71 car engine blew out going into Turn 1.
Glover’s vehicle then proceeded to head toward the track’s interior directly the Jarrett’s car’s sightline. Jarrett attempted to pull his car out of the way going up the track but quickly discovered that his brakes didn’t work.
“The thing I have been told is that if something happens to a car going into Turns 1 and 3, they are generally going up the race track,” Jarrett recalled during an interview on the Dale Jr. Download Podcast. “The worst thing was as (Gene Glover) hits the wall and comes back down, I see him come back down, and I hit the brakes, and the brake pedal goes to the floor.”
Unable to slow down or get out of the way, Jarrett clipped the back of Glover’s bumper that sent the car flipper through the inside grass section. As Glovers’ car eventually landed in a stationary spot, Jarrett raced to climbed out of his vehicle. He quickly realized that he completely shattered his left ankle that saw his foot pointed in the opposite direction.
The two drivers received immediate medical attention and avoided any serious injuries from the crash that could have unfolded in a much worse outcome.
Both drivers continued their racing careers
The accident forced Jarrett to miss the next six months, and he returned to the race track the following year.
Meanwhile, Glover continued his career until he retired from racing in 1982. He had a lengthy career that included winning the 1979 championship NASCAR Late Model Sportsman season.
According to Times-News, Glover won 10 track championships, two state championships in his local short track career that lasted nearly three decades. Jarrett constructed a lengthy NASCAR career that saw him compete through the 2008 season.
Things could have taken a much different path, but the wreck but each driver managed to remarkably walk away.