We've got some sad news in the NASCAR world to start the week as Danny Earnhardt, the younger brother of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. and a longtime NASCAR mechanic, passed away in his Mooresville, North Carolina home on Friday morning. He was 66.
Earnhardt is survived by Sherry, his wife of 47 years, his son Danny Earnhardt Jr. (who works as a car chief for JR Motorsports), his two grandchildren, and his mother Martha.
"The Earnhardt family holds a special place in NASCAR history and Danny Earnhardt was an important part of their success," read a statement by NASCAR. "Danny worked hard behind the scenes, helping three generations of Earnhardts succeed. On behalf of the entire NASCAR industry, our thoughts are with the Earnhardt family during this difficult time."
The youngest of five children, Danny Earnhardt was born and raised in Kannapolis, North Carolina. He got his start in the racing business at an early age, working in his father Ralph's racing shop and as a pipe insulator.
After Ralph died of a heart attack in 1973, Danny turned his attention towards his older brother Dale and worked as a mechanic and a pit crew member for Dale Earnhardt Inc. When JR Motorsports launched in 2005, Danny worked in the suspension room for the Mooresville-based racing team. He was integral to the team's success, working on the cars that racked up a total of 58 race wins and three championships in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
In late September 2021, Danny Earnhardt appeared on an episode of the Dale Jr. Download -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s popular podcast -- and discussed everything from the tragic loss of his brother at the 2001 Daytona 500 to supporting his nephew's NASCAR career when he was just starting out. The episode is a great tribute to Danny that also demonstrates the impressive impact of the Earnhardt family on the sport of NASCAR.
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