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Teresa Earnhardt: Wikis

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Teresa Earnhardt (née Houston) was the third wife and is the widow of Dale Earnhardt. She is the biological mother of Taylor Nicole Earnhardt (born December 20, 1988) and she is the stepmother of Kerry Earnhardt, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Teresa is currently the president and Co. Chief Executive Officer of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.[1] She was the first woman in NASCAR history to own a team.

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Early life

Teresa was born in Hickory, North Carolina the daughter of Hal Houston and the niece of Tommy Houston, legendary Busch Series driver. Teresa is a graduate of Bunker Hill High School in Claremont, NC were she was on the varsity cheerleading squad. She has a degree in commercial art and interior design.[2] Teresa met Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR driver, at a race in the late 1970s. The two married November 14, 1982. It was Dale's third marriage. They lived on a 300-plus acre farm near Mooresville, North Carolina. Taylor Nicole Earnhardt was born to the couple on December 20, 1988.[3] Dale died racing the Daytona 500 in 2001.

NASCAR career

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Dale Earnhardt Incorporated

Teresa headed Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI) during four Busch Series championships in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2005 plus two Craftsman Truck Series championships in 1996 and 1997.[2] Her first Daytona 500 win as a team owner occurred when driver of the #15 Chevrolet driven by Michael Waltrip won at the 2001 Daytona 500. This was the same race in which her husband Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash during the final lap of the race.[4]

In late 2006, Earnhardt hired entertainment executive Max Siegel as President of Global Operations to help DEI expand into the entertainment industry. On July 25, 2007, DEI Merged with Ginn Racing with Bobby Ginn gaining a part ownership in DEI.[5]

Dale Jr. leaves DEI

Teresa's strained relationship with her stepson Dale Jr. ended in May 2007 when Dale announced he would not be returning to DEI for the 2008 NASCAR season. Dale Jr. left DEI because an agreement could not be reached that suited himself and his three siblings who claim equal right to the business.[6]

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Merger

Teresa was unable to retain the sponsorships of Budweiser and US Army who pulled support following the exit of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.. This was a major factor leading to the merger with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in November 2008 that formed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.[7]

When asked what his father would think about the team he founded having to merge to survive, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said: “I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. But he would have had better luck at securing sponsorships and maybe kept them from being in the state they’re in. When my daddy died, all that changed. If he was here, this would be sad, but he’s not. Now they have to do their own thing and make their own way. I don’t have anything to do with it.”

References


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