Martha Earnhardt, the matriarch of the Earnhardt racing family, has died. She was 91 years old.
Her Dec. 25 passing was confirmed Sunday morning by grandchildren Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“It is with great sadness that we share the news that Martha Earnhardt passed away Christmas evening,” said Miller and Earnhardt Jr. in a joint statement. “As we grieve her loss and begin to imagine life without our beloved ‘Mamaw,’ we find solace 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. She was not just the matriarch to our family, but she was the matriarch to multiple generations of race fans.”
Martha Earnhardt was the widow of Ralph Earnhardt, who she married in 1947. Ralph, a Kannapolis, North Carolina native, was a car builder and driver, winning numerous track and state championships. Crowned the 1956 NASCAR Sportsman champion, Earnhardt also made 51 starts in the NASCAR Cup Series between 1956 and 1966. Ralph Earnhardt died at the age of 45 in 1973.
Martha and Ralph Earnhardt had five children — seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and 2010 Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Sr., Danny Earnhardt, who passed away earlier this month, Randy, and daughters Kaye and Kathy.