KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Brenda Jackson, mother of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a longtime employee at JR Motorsports alongside her daughter Kelley Earnhardt Miller, has died following a battle with cancer. She was 65.
The team announced her death on Monday.
Jackson was the daughter of NASCAR fabricator Robert Gee, who built cars for various racers, including the late Dale Earnhardt. She married Earnhardt in 1972. Their two children, Dale Jr. and Kelley, remained with their mother when the couple separated and Earnhardt chased a career in NASCAR.
After a fire left the trio homeless, Jackson moved to Virginia, and Dale Jr. and Kelley relocated to live with their father. Jackson married Norfolk firefighter Willie Jackson in 1985 and returned to North Carolina to work with Kelley and Dale Jr. Jackson joined the race team owned by her two children as an accounting specialist in 2004. Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
Jackson was a staunch supporter of her son’s decision to retire from full-time racing because of concussions, and she was a tireless supporter of the Dale Jr. Foundation and other charitable efforts.
In addition to her husband and two children, she is survived by a stepdaughter, six grandchildren and two brothers.