Earnhardt History
1979 Season
Rookie of the Year


1979 Season

Starts 27
Wins 1
Top 5's 11
Top 10's 17
Points Rank 7
Crew Chief:
Jake Elder
Car Owner:
Rod Osturlund
Car Makes:
Chevy Monte Carlo
Car No: 2
Sponsor: Mike Curb Productions



Dale Earnhardt began his first Winston Cup season at the age of 27, driving Chevrolet Monte Carlos for team owner Rod Osturlund in 1979. Earnhardt was in a tight rookie battle with Joe Millikan, Harry Gant, and Terry Labonte.

In just the seventh race of the year, Dale got his first Winston Cup victory at Bristol Motor Speedway! The win came after Earnhardt pulled away from experienced rivals Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip in the race's closing laps.

Midway through the season, Earnhardt experienced an extreme setback to his Rookie of the Year hopes when he had an bad accident at Pocono. The accident occurred when Earnhardt blew a tire while leading the race. He suffered two broken collarbones, a concussion and severe neck and chest bruises.

David Pearson was soon enlisted to drive the Osturlund Chevrolets and fill in until Earnhardt recovered. Pearson finished second at Talladega, won the pole and finished fourth at Michigan, and then beat Bill Elliot by two laps to win the Southern 500.

Earnhardt returned the following week at Richmond and won the pole before finishing fourth! Despite missing part of the season due to injury, Earnhardt came away with his first win and the Rookie of the Year title. He didn't secure the rookie title until the final race of the season with his ninth-place finish at Ontario.



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