Meet Dale Earnhardt Jr's Niece Karsyn Elledge — Whose Terrifying Car Crash Hasn't Dulled Her Ambition To Race

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Who Is Karsyn Elledge? New Details On Dale Earnhardt Jr's Niece And Her Terrifying Car Crash

Lots of kids choose to enter the family business but few have to follow in footstep as large as the ones in front of Karsyn Elledge. The 18-year old United States Auto Club (USAC) racer is the granddaughter of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the niece of Dale Jr. 

Karsyn got a ton of attention when she won two heats at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals last winter in Oklahoma. That led to a sponsorship deal with TMC Transportation that will help her run her first season on the USAC National Midget Series. Now she’s trying to balance college with car racing and figuring out how to plot out her future. This week, it all took a scary turn as she flipped her car during a race in Oklahoma. She walked away from the crash without serious injuries but she’s going to be taking a few days to rest and recover now.

Who is Karsyn Elledge? Read on for all the details.

 

1. Family legacy

There is no way for Karsyn to avoid the associations that racing fans have with her family. Not only was her grandfather Dale Earnhardt Sr. a legend, but her uncle Dale Jr. is one as well and even her mom had a short career as a racer before deciding to manage the business side of her brother’s NASCAR empire. Karsyn explains to NASCAR.com that she accepted her family’s history in the sport from early on but she has come to understand the depth of it more as she’s learned more about her grandfather, “Growing up, that was just something that was a thing: Papaw Dale passed away in the Daytona 500 when I was five months old. I don’t want to say it’s normal; it was just a thing in our lives. As I’ve gotten older and read stories and heard people’s stories and watched videos and really be able to understand the legacy that he left, now I have a better understanding of it.”

Racing is a family affair.

2. School or sport

She has just finished her freshman year at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Initially, she planned to be on the cheerleading squad at school, as well as racing on the weekends but the coaches asked her to make a choice: she chose racing. “I thought I was going to be more upset about it than I am,” she told NASCAR.com, “but I’d much rather race than be a cheerleader.” She isn’t unsure about her criminal justice major, however, as racing is her real passion. Her mother wants her to make sure she has a plan for her life is a racing career doesn’t work out but with the early success she has been having, it’s easy to see how Karsyn might be more focused on racing than studying.

She gave up cheerleading to race.

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3. Early success

Karsyn has been working her way up as a racer since she was young. She won two Box Stock Class championships and had more than 40 feature wins in Outlaw Karts. In January, she was driving for sponsor Tucker-Boat Motorsports when she won two heats at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. That led to a partnership with TMC Transportation sp she can race her first season on the USAC National Midget Series. 

Karsyn landed a new sponsorship deal.

4. Women in racing

Karsyn sees the future of racing as including more and more women. She considers Danica Patrick one of her biggest inspirations and tells people meeting Patrick was a highlight of the time she spent as the host of Nickelodeon's NASCAR Hammerdown. She told NASCAR.com: “I look at it as we’re building a building. It’s all of our job, us young women who are coming along, to add bricks to that building...to add to the foundation until it’s not seen as crazy that there’s women out there.”

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Danica Patrick is her idol.

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5. Danger

But racing remains a dangerous sport and Karsyn is no stranger to the risks involved. She has had a couple of crashes on the track, including one on July 10, 2019 that has her sidelined for a few days to recover. Her car spun out at the track at Red Dirt Raceway in Oklahoma. The vehicle flipped over several times, eventually bouncing over the barrier and landing off the track. Karsyn was able to get out of the car on her own and appeared uninjured at the time. She took to Twitter to tell fans that what hurt most was her pride but later she added a new tweet saying: “After a lot of thought & conversations with those important to me, I will be taking the remainder of the week off to rest my body & let it heal. My health and well-being are my top priority.” Her mother Kelley was also on social media thanking fans for their support and expressing her terror about watching her daughter crash, saying “Try watching this from your couch as the mom,” along with video of the crash.

She is recovering after the wreck.

Any athlete would agree that taking time off to heal after an accident is a smart choice. It’s safe to assume, however, that this will be temporary and Karsyn Elledge will be racing again in short order.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.