Famed NASCAR winner Ernie Irvan began racing at the age of nine and later won the California Championship at age 15. His love for racing gradually grew into a full-time career as Ernie continued placing first in competitions. He has garnered 15 career NASCAR Winston Cup Victories and 22 career NASCAR Winston Cup pole positions.
In 1982, Ernie moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to pursue his love of racing. With only $900 to his name upon arrival in North Carolina, Ernie took on various jobs including working at Charlotte Motor Speedway and building racecars. He continued to race, winning nine races at Concord Speedway in the Late Model Series.
Ernie Irvan debuted at the Winston Cup on September 13, 1987 at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway. Driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo sponsored by Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet, Ernie finished 29th in the race. He went on to compete in four more races and placed in the Top 10 in his last race, winning $23,050. Ernie continued to compete and won his first Winston Cup race in the Busch 500 in 1990.
A devastating racing accident occurred in 1994 during a practice session in Michigan. Ernie crashed into the Turn Two wall at 170 miles per hour due to a deflated right front tire. Ernie suffered lung and brain injuries as well as given a 10 percent chance to live. However, Ernie proved resilient and just two months after the accident, flew to New York to accept the True Value Hard Charger Award from NASCAR. Ernie Irvan also went on to compete in at New Hampshire and Richmond in 1996,ending the season with 12 Top-5 and 16 Top-10 finishes.
In 1999, Ernie suffered through another crash in Michigan at a practice for the Busch Series race. After being diagnosed with a mild head injury and bruised lung, Ernie decided to retire from racing. Ernie's career accomplishments and highlights include 68 Top-5's, 124 Top-10's, 15 victories, 22 poles and over $11 million in earnings.
Since his retirement, Irvan has helped his son's racing career, serving as the crew chief on his son Jared's quarter midget.
In June 2016, Irvan was inducted into the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame.
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