Dale Earnhardt's Mom Speaks Out About NASCAR
KANNAPOLIS, NC - Martha Earnhardt has lived in Kannapolis for 55 years. The family name is more popular here than it is around the world. "Never in a million years would I have ever dreamed it," said Earnhardt.
The family home is off Dale Earnhardt Boulevard, the street named after her son. It's where she and her husband Ralph raised their family. "Between building motors for other drivers and racing he kept me and 5 children up," said Earnhardt.
Back then racing didn't have the huge cash winnings Ralph was lucky to bring home $150 for a 1st place finish. "The racing itself has just changed dramatically, I mean its nothing like it used to be," says Martha.
She says the sport hasn't been the same since Dale Sr.'s death in 2001, "I think if Dale was still here things would not be like they are now." She says racing has gotten away from its roots. "There for a while you couldn't touch each other without getting fined and all this stuff to me racing has always been a contact sport," she said.
She beleives until a current driver can step up to fill the leadership void Dale left behind, NASCAR won't get back to it's glory days. "Junior is not like his dad and he don't really want to be like his dad," she says.
Many people look to Dale Jr. one of the most popular drivers out there, but Martha says its too much pressure, "I don't know that he has ever really dealt with his dad's death."
Martha says for now, Jr.'s focused on the track, and winning a championship, while she's focused on getting him married, "I told him one time i was going to find him a good country girl, and he said mamaw she's gotta by pretty, I said well, you know i wouldn't find you no ugly girl."
Martha hasn't been back to a NASCAR track for a race since Dale's death-- but says every week she's glued to the TV pulling for #88.