Earnhardt had German ancestry. He was born on April 29, 1951, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, as the third child of Martha (Coleman) and Ralph Earnhardt. Earnhardt's father was then one of the best short-track drivers in North Carolina and won his first and only NASCAR Sportsman Championship in 1956 at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, South Carolina. Although Ralph did not want his son to pursue a career as a race car driver, Dale dropped out of school to pursue his dreams. Ralph was a hard teacher for Dale, and after Ralph died of a heart attack at his home in 1973 at age 45, it took many years before Dale felt as though he had finally "proven" himself to his father. Earnhardt had four siblings: two brothers, Danny and Randy (died 2013); and two sisters, Cathy and Kaye.
In 1968, at the age of 17, Earnhardt married his first wife, Latane Brown. With her, Earnhardt fathered his first son, Kerry, a year later. Dale and Latane divorced in 1970. In 1971, Earnhardt married his second wife, Brenda Gee, the daughter of NASCAR car builder Robert Gee. In his marriage with Gee, Earnhardt had two more children: a daughter, Kelley King Earnhardt, in 1972, and a son, Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr., in 1974. Not long after Dale Jr. was born, Earnhardt and Gee divorced. Earnhardt then married his third and final wife, Teresa Houston (Tommy Houston's niece), in 1982. She gave birth to their daughter, Taylor Nicole Earnhardt, in 1988. Taylor and her husband, Brandon Putnam, are professional rodeo performers.
Earnhardt's only win of the 1992 season came at Charlotte, in the Coca-Cola 600, ending a 13-race win streak by Ford teams. Earnhardt finished a career-low 12th in the points for the second time in his career, and the only time he had finished that low since joining RCR. He still made the trip to the annual Awards Banquet with Rusty Wallace but did not have the best seat in the house. Wallace stated he and Earnhardt had to sit on the backs of their chairs to see, and Earnhardt said, "This sucks, I could have gone hunting." At the end of the year, longtime crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine left to become a driver. Andy Petree took over as crew chief.
Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium (2000): Last Unicorn Games; role-playing game set in the Dune universe. Delayed by legal issues and then a corporate buyout of Last Unicorn by Wizards of the Coast, a "Limited Edition" run of 3000 copies of a core rule-book was initially published, pending Wizard of the Coast's conversion of the game to its d20 role-playing game system and a subsequent wider release. The company later announced that the game would be discontinued, but it was eventually published by Wizards of the Coast after the acquisition. Val Mayerik did interior art for the game.