Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. began his racing career in 1991. By 1996 Earnhardt was appearing in Busch Series races driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc., the company founded by Earnhardt's father Dale Earnhart Sr. By 1998 Earnhardt was driving full time for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on the Busch Series. Earnhardt won two straight Busch Series Championships in 1998 and 1999. In 2000 Earnhardt made the leap to Winston Cup racing full time. Earnhardt drove the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc. form 1999 through 2007. Earnhardt won the 2004 Daytona 500 and was named NASCAR's most popular driver from 2003-2007. On May 10, 2007 Earnhardt announced he would leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. citing his desire to win a Sprint Cup Championship. Earnhardt told fans and media that unless he gained majority ownership he doubted Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s ability to field championship caliber cars. On June 13, 2007, Earnhardt announced at a press conference that he had signed a five-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt joined Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Casey Mears with Hendrick. Earnhardt won his first race with Hendrick on June 15, winning the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
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