Martha Earnhardt, Matriarch of the Famed NASCAR Racing Family, Dead at 91
Martha Earnhardt, the mother of NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and grandmother of another racing great, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., has died. She was 91 years old.
According to a statement from Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, who is her granddaughter and also co-owns JR Motorsports with Earnhardt, Jr., Martha died on Christmas Day (Dec. 25.) "As we grieve her loss and begin to imagine life without our beloved 'Mawmaw,' we find solace in knowing she is at peace in eternal glory and in joyous reunion with her husband Ralph and sons Dale, Randy and Danny," the statement reads in an Instagram post.
"Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers, and thank you so much for loving our Mawmaw as if she were your own," Earnhardt-Miller continued. "She was not just the matriarch to our family, but she was the matriarch to multiple generations of race fans."
According to NASCAR.com, Martha married racing driver Ralph Earnhardt in 1947, and the couple had five children before Ralph's death from a heart attack in 1973 at age 45. Their sons were Dale, Randy and Danny; their daughters were Kaye and Cathy. The most famous of the children, Dale, became a NASCAR legend, earning the rare title of a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion. Dale died during a three-car crash during the Daytona 500 race in 2001. Martha is also preceded in death by her other two sons, the youngest of whom -- Danny -- died earlier in December 2021.
Martha spent most of her life in the modest home she and Ralph had built together in Kannapolis, N.C., NASCAR.com reports, despite suggestions that she move into a larger house after her son and grandson achieved massive success and celebrity in their racing careers.