- Category : 1928-births
- Type : ME
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Spirit 1
American race-car driver, the father of race champion Dale Earnhardt and grandfather of racer Dale, Jr.
Ralph was idolized by his son, who followed his dad's footsteps from the time he was a kid. The only rift between them was Ralph's disappointment that his boy dropped out of school but Dale, nicknamed Ironhead, was as stubborn as his dad, nicknamed Ironheart. Ralph was a NASCAR champion, winning the Sportsman Division championship in 1956 and in 1961 posted seven top-10 finishes in eight starts in the Winston Cup Division. In 1989, Earnhardt was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame at Darlington and he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega in 1997. The family was all about racing, and the only time he raced against his son was in 1971 at the Metrolina speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The following year Ralph was going to have Dale drive on his team, but his plans were interrupted by a terminal heart attack while working on his car on 26 September 1973.