It was a shockingly sad Christmas for one of the most legendary NASCAR racing families in existence, as one of their own passed away on Christmas Day.
According to the Washington Examiner, Martha Earnhardt, the matriarch of the Earnhardt family, died Saturday at the age of 91.
Both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt, issued a Twitter statement announcing their grandmother’s passing.
— Kelley Earnhardt (@EarnhardtKelley) December 26, 2021
The Earnhardt matriarch was clearly a beloved member of the family, as her grandchildren made clear in the touching statement announcing the news.
“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,” they wrote. The statement added: “Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you so much for loving our Mamaw as if she were your own.”
She was preceded in death by her husband, stock car racer Ralph Earnhardt, who passed away in 1973.
An impressive life
Martha Earnhardt might have been the mother and grandmother of the most legendary, famous names in racing history, but she was no stranger to the track, as she reportedly used to race in women’s events prior to her husband racing in main events.
A resident of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Martha Earnhardt was described as “active” in her local community, and was an important figure in encouraging young, local children to read more books.
In 2017, she was awarded the title of “Grand Marshal” of the Kannapolis Christmas Parade, a high honor for the traditional, annual event.
Tributes for the Earnhardt matriarch poured in from the racing world over the weekend, as many current and former racecar drivers honored her and paid respect to the mother and grandmother of the men who influenced the sport like no other.
“So sad to hear of the passing of Martha Earnhardt! She was one sweet lady!” Fox sports analyst Larry McReynolds wrote in a tweet. “She now is in a much better place than we are! She will be missed!”