He worked at his father's dealership as a mechanic while he went to Mitchell Community College to earn an associate degree in automotive technology.Earnhardt ran nine Busch Series races between 19 for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Ed Whitaker, respectively, before driving for his father's team in the Busch Series full-time in 1998, in which he started the season with an amazing blowover after contact with Dick Trickle and Buckshot Jones at Daytona, on the same weekend that his father had his first and only Daytona 500 win.He was docked 25 points, however, after his car failed post-race inspection.With this win, DEI swept three of the four restrictor plate races for 2001, only failing to win the spring Talladega race.
8 Budweiser-sponsored Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and then in 2000, he went full-time in the Winston Cup series.However, Earnhardt rallied to sweep both Talladega races (leading a dominating 133 of 188 laps in the spring race), a pair of Bud Pole Awards and an 11th-place finish in the standings with eleven Top 5's and sixteen Top 10 finishes.In 2003, he became a true title contender, scoring a record-breaking fourth consecutive win at Talladega, after being involved in a 27-car crash on lap 4.In the aftermath, many disgruntled fans sent death threats to Marlin and his family, blaming him for the crash; Earnhardt and Waltrip both requested that fans stopped blaming anybody for Earnhardt Sr.'s death and both the local police and NASCAR investigations into the crash cleared Marlin of any involvement.Earnhardt raced at Rockingham the following weekend, but finished in 43rd-place after a wreck on the first lap that looked eerily similar to his father's wreck just a week earlier.He finished the 2001 season eighth in the points standings with three wins, nine Top 5's, and fifteen Top 10's, as well as two poles. He struggled after enduring a concussion at the Fontana race in April – an injury he did not admit to until mid-September.In the three races following Fontana, he finished no better than 30th.On the last restart, he managed to make a move from sixth to first place in the span of two laps, with Waltrip holding off the field as Earnhardt took the checkered flag. 400 at Dover, which was the first Cup race following the September 11 attacks as the original scheduled race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was postponed until the end of the season.After the race, he performed a Polish victory lap while holding a large American flag out the driver's side window.He competed on the North and South Carolina short tracks driving a No. While he did run various tracks during this time, Earnhardt primarily focused his efforts at the Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina and the East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville, North Carolina, where he captured the pole for the Greenville Merchants 300 on October 28, 1994.There he developed an in-depth knowledge of chassis setup and car preparation, while racing against his older brother Kerry and his sister Kelley.