A colorful, fearless portrait of the larger-than-life first family of NASCAR, the Earnhardts, and the rise of the world’s fastest stock car racing organization.
More than sixty years ago, Ralph Earnhardt toiled in a cotton mill in his native North Carolina to support his growing family. Weekends he could be found going pedal to the metal at the dirt tracks, taking on the competition in the early days of box car racing and becoming one of the best short-track drivers in the state. His son, Dale Earnhardt Sr., would become one of the greatest drivers of all time, and his grandson Dale Jr, would become NASCAR’s most popular driver of the 2000s. From a simple backyard garage, the Earnhardts reached the highest echelons of professional stock car racing and became the stuff of myth for fans.
Earnhardt Nation is the story of this car racing dynasty and the business that would make them rich and famous—and nearly tear them apart. Covering all the white-knuckle races, including the final lap at the Daytona 500 that claimed the life of the Intimidator, Earnhardt Nation goes deep into the fast-paced world of NASCAR, its royal family’s obsession with speed, and their struggle with celebrity. Jay Busbee takes us deep inside the lives of these men and women who shaped NASCAR. He delves into their personal and professional lives, from failed marriages to rivalries large and small to complex and competitive father-son relationships that have reverberated through generations, and explores the legacy the Earnhardts struggle to uphold.
About the Author
Jay Busbee is a lead writer at Yahoo Sports, where he writes for the official Yahoo Sports NASCAR Blog. He lives in Atlanta with his family.
“A complicated family. A Paul Bunyan-like legend. A nation in mourning. A sport in transition. Chronicling any one of those topics by itself would be like trying to run Talladega in a minivan. But Jay Busbee steers us through it all like an Earnhardt racing in the draft.”
— Ryan McGee, ESPN.com senior writer and SportsCenter correspondent
“Jay Busbee drives us down a winding road into three generations of NASCAR’s biggest and most popular stars. Once Busbee takes you lap by lap through the tragic events of February 18, 2001, you won’t be able to put this book down.”
— Mike Joy, leading NASCAR announcer, Fox Sports
“In capturing the Earnhardt family’s legacy, Jay Busbee conveys the importance of these larger-than-life characters during a critical time for NASCAR. This book has stories I read for the first time, and each reinforced my appreciation for the role the Earnhardts have played in the sport.”
— Mike Helton, president of NASCAR
“Whether you loved Dale Earnhardt Sr. like a hero or pulled against him, Earnhardt Nation is an absolute must-read! Like so many others in the sport, I have lived this book, yet it still opened my eyes and ears to stories I’d never heard before.”
— Larry McReynolds. Fox NASCAR analyst and Dale Sr.'s Daytona 500-winner crew chief