CONCORD, N.C. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of three people who were elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame for the Class of 2021, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.
Earnhardt was one of 10 nominees to appear on the Modern Ballet and received 76% of those votes. In total, 63 votes were cast by NASCAR industry leaders, team owners, track owners and more. For the first time, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick cast a ballot as part of the voting panel.
Earnhardt, 44, said he wasn't nervous leading up to the ceremony, adding that he got a root canal early Tuesday. However, he said hearing his name called was a surreal experience.
"I got shook up and I was extremely emotional to be nominated," Earnhardt said on NASCAR America. "Not a lot of people are like this, but I really work off affirmation — I succeed off affirmation — and there’s no better compliment or affirmation than from your peers and the people that you work with and work around.
“This is such a great pat on the back for a lot of hard work and a lot of years in the sport, trying to do the right thing for the yourself, your sponsors but most importantly for the health of the sport. I’m feeling great about this experience and looking forward to what lies ahead, the evening itself and the ceremony. It’ll be a great experience and I’ll be excited."
Earnhardt is third-generation NASCAR champion and the son of legendary racer Dale Earnhardt. Between 1999 and 2017, he made 631 Cup Series starts, was voted Most Popular Driver 15 times and won 26 Cup Series races, including two DAYTONA 500s.
Earnhardt also has made 142 Xfinity Series starts and won two championships at that level in 1998 and 1999.
In 2006, Earnhardt founded JR Motorsports and became a team owner. He also is an analyst for NBC Sports and hosts his own podcast, "The Dale Jr. Download."
Along with Earnhardt, Red Farmer and Mike Stefanik will round out the Class of 2021 from the Modern Ballot. Earnhardt and Farmer, along with Neil Bonnett, also received tallies from NASCAR.com Fan Vote.
In addition, Ralph Seagraves was named as the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.