Statements from the Earnhardt family and the Mayor of Kannapolis
Martha Earnhardt was the wife to Ralph Earnhardt until his death in 1973. They had five children, daughters Kaye and Cathy and sons Dale, Randy and Danny.
Dale Earnhardt, her son, went on to become a 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. Danny Earnhardt worked at JR Motorsports until his passing earlier this month.
Related: Danny Earnhardt has passed away
After Dale’s passing, a statue went up in Kannapolis, NC. NASCAR fans regularly toured the area and along the way they frequently bumped into Martha who would regularly invite NASCAR fans into her living room to tell them detailed stories of her son.
She rarely went to the race track. However, she’d watch her family from afar, at home, from her TV.
Martha jumped in a race car too, just once. She crashed in a powder-puff race at Hickory Motor Speedway. That brought her racing career to an abrupt end.
She stated, “That was my one and only,” she said. “… It didn’t work. I just wasn’t meant to be a race-car driver.”
Martha had 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. She passed away on Christmas day at the age of 91.
Earnhardt Family comments
Kelley Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr released a joint statement:
“It is with great sadness that we share the news that Martha Earnhardt passed away Christmas evening,” the family opened.
“As we grieve her loss and begin to imagine life without our beloved ‘Mamaw’, we find dolace in knowing she is at peace in eternal glory and in joyous reunion with her husband Ralph and sons Dale, Randy and Danny.”
“Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers, and thank you so much for loving our Mamaw as if she were your own.”
They concluded, “She was not just the matriarch to our family, but she was the matriarch to multiple generations of race fans.”
Cathy Earnhardt / Kaye Earnhardt comment:
“It’s with a sad heart Kaye Earnhardt and I want you to know our Mother Martha Earnhardt passed away on Christmas, the statement opened.
“She is beautiful and gloriously rejoined with her husband Ralph and her sons Dale, Randy and Danny. She is walking through the Pearly Gates with that beautiful smile and a spring in her step.”
Cathy added, “We will share arrangements as we know them. We are not receiving visitors at her home.”
NASCAR community comments
Brad Keselowski: “I’m so sorry for you guys.”
Brian Keselowski: “I’m so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately we know exactly how you are feeling. The hits just keep coming.”
Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Mrs. Martha Earnhardt,” a statement from Mayor Darrell Hinnant read.
“While she was the matriarch of the legendary racing family she was a treasured member of our community. This was evidenced a yew years ago when she was named the Kannapolis Christmas Parade Grand Marshal and thousands showed up to honor her.”
“If you dropped by her home you were always welcomed as if you were one of her family members that she loved so dearly. She would give you updates on all her children and their families and would want to ensure all was well with you.”
The statement concluded, “On behalf of the City of Kannapolis, we offer our deepest condolences to her family. She will be greatly missed.”