Dale Arnold Jarrett was born on November 26, 1956. Dale grew up in a loving family and was the second born of three children. His mother's name was Martha and his father was Ned Jarrett. Ned was also race car driver and he won the NASCAR Grand National Series champion twice. The Jarrett family shares a gene that makes them top-tier race drivers. His two other siblings are Glenn Jarrett, an older brother who is also is a former NASCAR driver and Patti, his younger sister.
Dale’s family tried to support his father as much as they could, Dave would spend most of his time travelling all across the southern United States to attend his father's races. He graduated from Newton-Conover High School in 1975 and worked at Hickory Motor Speedway, the track his father managed.
Dale was a star athlete in high school, the future 3 times Daytona 500 award winner was introduced to golf, a sport that he grew fond of rather quickly, despite the fact that he had already been playing football, basketball and baseball. His natural talent in golf earned the school’s team three conference championships and he was unanimously named the school's athlete of the year as a senior.
He was offered a full golf sponsorship to the University of South Carolina, an offer that he did not accept. Though he was very talented in golf, he wanted to venture into racing like his father before him. He loved his father very much and wanted to follow in his footsteps.
Born to Be a Racer
Dale would eventually become a world famous racer, whose wins are still memorable in the minds of his fans. He is a legendary icon, who is still recognized for his 3 impressive victories at Daytona. Even though Dale was a talented golfer, he was too in love with racing to focus on anything else. After declining a full scholarship for golf from the University of South Carolina, he entered his first professional race in the Limited Sportsman Division at Hickory. It wasn't until 1980 that the now renowned race car driver won his first race. After that first race, his golden age was waiting around the corner. Most of his races were breath taking and he almost seemed on the verge of breaking a new record.
In 1984, Jarrett competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and had an average finishing time of 24.67. Dale maintained his run of successful finishes, participating in virtually all the championships. During the 1990-91 racing season, he finished seventh overall in the standings. It was during this period that he won his first Winston Cup race at the Michigan International Speedway in 1991.
During a stretch of racing in the 90s, he had impressive finishes, winning the Daytona 500 and making it into the Top 5 a total of 13 times. In 1998, he won three races and finished second in two races, which helped Jarrett place third in the overall drivers’ ranking that year.
His 1998 achievement was replicated in 2000, when he won the Daytona 500 for the third time. In 2001, he won more races to clinch the no. 1 standing for a period time. However, he suffered a bad crash during a race in Kansas after his fourth win. His 2003 season was of average performance, having posted 5 top-10 finishes. He also had another crash in that year. During the peak of his career, he won 4 out of 36 races with 12 top five finishes and an average finishing time of 13.94.
Despite starting off well in the 2007 racing season, his performance during the year ended up being lackluster. His teammate was penalized for using fuel additives, which affected his overall standing as points were deducted from the entire team’s drivers. His interest in racing appeared to be waning, as he failed to participate in 11 races that year.
He retired in 2008, possibly because of depression, which according to him was mainly caused by his divorce from his wife, Kelley Jarrett. He now works as a television broadcaster.
Award Winning Driver
Dale Jarrett was named to the top 50 NASCAR Drivers of all time in 1998. He won many awards and championships throughout his career. The one that made him stand out from his competitors was the famous Daytona 500 wins.
The Daytona 500 is a 500-mile-long NASCAR Sprint Cup Series motor race held annually at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida). The Daytona 500 championship is considered to be one of the highest in status and prestige when it comes to racing. Dale managed to win it three times in 1993, 1996, and 2000. In 2004, he received the USG Person of the Year award. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014.
Dale Jarrett married Kelly Jarrett when his career was at its peak. They lived a happy life along with their three amazing children. The couple met in 1977 when Dale was just a small time driver. Kelley supported him in every chance he took and she is credited for taking him to the high levels he reached in his career. She was a fifth grade teacher and she economically supported him to so he could focus on his dreams of racing. While he was busy become a successful driver, he counted on her to raise the kids.
Dale’s first marriage before Kelly was completely hidden from the public. When he was offered a scholarship to attend a university, he did not want to continue his education and instead he got married. He fathered his first son, Jason when he was just 18. The relationship ended very shortly because he was not ready to handle the responsibility. He didn’t ignore his son, Jason and still loves him very much even though his relationship did not work out with Jason’s mother. Jason ended up following the tradition that his last name has been carrying for generations by pursuing a career in racing. He is now a former driver in the NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Racing Series and a current mechanic and spotter for Richard Childress Racing since 2005. He always wanted to duplicate his father’s success but was happy to just be in the same sport.
Dale and Kelly had a perfect marriage until things started to fall apart. There were rumors that Dale was caught cheating on Kelley with a woman named Buffy Waltrip and that is what led to their separation. Dale and Kelley were family friends of Michael and his partner Buffy, since they were dating. Many people claim that Dale and Buffy were not having any relationship and they were friends from the very beginning. There is no concrete evidence that Buffy caused Dale’s relationship with Kelley to fail but it was the only rumor that had any legs under it. The truth might be less juicy and their relationship may have just ended because they lost feelings for each other over time.
Last Modified: Apr 8, 2020