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In the aftermath, many disgruntled fans sent death threats to Marlin and his family, blaming him for the crash; Earnhardt and Waltrip both requested that fans stopped blaming anybody for Earnhardt Sr.'s death and both the local police and NASCAR investigations into the crash cleared Marlin of any involvement.

Earnhardt raced at Rockingham the following weekend, but finished in 43rd-place after a wreck on the first lap that looked eerily similar to his father's wreck just a week earlier.

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Earnhardt scored his first win in the Direc TV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, breaking the record held by his father Earnhardt Sr.

for fewest starts by a driver to earn his first victory in NASCAR's "modern era" by winning in his 12th start, and also at Richmond International Raceway.

Also in 1999, he drove in 5 Winston Cup races in the No.

8 Budweiser-sponsored Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and then in 2000, he went full-time in the Winston Cup series.

His primary competitor for the award was Matt Kenseth.

Kenseth outran Earnhardt in the season-opening Daytona 500.

He was docked 25 points, however, after his car failed post-race inspection.

With this win, DEI swept three of the four restrictor plate races for 2001, only failing to win the spring Talladega race.

He struggled for most of the race, and was at points a half-lap down, only catching back up to the pack through a caution.

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