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NASCAR Day: The Biggest Divorces In Racing

Posted: Updated: 05/18/2012 2:42 pm

Friday marks the ninth annual NASCAR day, and as racing fans come together at Daytona International Speedway to celebrate the sport and raise money for charity, here at HuffPost Divorce we're marking the occasion by taking a look at some of the most tumultuous relationships in NASCAR history.

Some of the biggest names in racing hit the prime of their careers while also dealing with significant marital problems at home. (Hopefully all that engine revving helped them let off some steam.)

Click through the slideshow below to learn about five NASCAR drivers who made it to the finish line on the racetrack, but ran out of gas in their marriages.

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  • Jeff Gordon

    This NASCAR legend and his wife, Brooke, split in 2002 after seven years of marriage. While she was the one who filed the paperwork and received a reported <a href="http://www.askmen.com/sports/business_100/112b_sports_business.html" target="_hplink">$15.3 million settlement</a> when the split was finalized, she kept one significant memento from their marriage -- Gordon's last name. In 2010, the #24 driver <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/431010-jeff-gordons-ex-wife-brooke-in-custody-dispute-over-babys-last-name" target="_hplink">got dragged into a custody dispute</a> when his ex bestowed his last name onto a child she had with another man. Gordon is now married to model Ingrid Vandebosch, with whom <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20409069,00.html" target="_hplink">he has two children</a>.

  • Danica Patrick

    In November 2012, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick took to Facebook to announce her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/danica-patrick-husband-separating_n_2167345.html" target="_hplink">plans to divorce physical therapist Paul Hospenthal </a>after seven years of marriage. The two <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2012/11/20/danica-patrick-ending-seven-year-marriage/1717653/" target="_hplink">met back in 2002 </a>when he was treating her for a non-racing-related<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2012/11/20/danica-patrick-ending-seven-year-marriage/1717653/" target="_hplink"> hip injury</a>. Patrick <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/14/danica-patrick-divorce-_n_2475214.html" target="_hplink">officially filed for divorce</a> in January 2013. The<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/danica-patrick-divorce-na_n_3163795.html" target="_hplink"> split was finalized</a> three months later in April 2013.

  • Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

    Seven-time NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt, Sr. married his first wife, Latane Brown, when he was just 17. The couple had one son together, Kerry, but divorced a year after he was born. Earnhardt embarked <a href="http://nmpaonline.com/archives/2006/di-columns-1.html" target="_hplink">on his second marriage</a> in 1971 with Brenda Gee, the daughter of NASCAR car builder Robert Gee. The couple had two children together, daughter Kelley and son Dale Jr., who went on to follow in his father's NASCAR footsteps. Like his first marriage, Earnhardt's second union ended soon after the birth of his son. Earnhardt <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/biography-ralph-dale-earnhardt-sr-1951-2001-23232.html?cat=49" target="_hplink">married his third wife</a>, Teresa in 1982 and they remained together for almost 20 years, until his death in 2001.

  • Kurt Busch

    Former racing champ Kurt Busch announced that he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/01/kurt-busch-divorce-nascar_n_888773.html" target="_hplink">separating from his wife</a>, Eva Bryan, in 2010 after he was spotted <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/01/kurt-busch-divorce-nascar_n_888773.html" target="_hplink">smooching another woman</a> in Victory Lane -- the spot on the racetrack where the first-place driver goes to celebrate his or her victory. The former couple had been <a href="http://hamptonroads.com/2011/07/nascar-kurt-busch-says-marriage-coming-end" target="_hplink">married for three years</a>.

  • Brian France

    NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France -- whose grandfather <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-02-23/brian-france-on-steering-nascar-to-a-tv-deal" target="_hplink">founded NASCAR</a> over 60 years ago -- has had his fair share of divorce drama. He married and divorced his ex-wife, Megan, <a href="http://hamptonroads.com/2011/08/brian-france-alleges-exwife-threatend-extort-money-him" target="_hplink">not once, but twice</a>. In May 2013, the ex-couple's previously confidential <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/brian-france-nascar-chief_n_3241089.html" target="_hplink">divorce documents were unsealed, </a>revealing information about France's finances, poor parenting and alleged <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/brian-france-nascar-chief_n_3241089.html" target="_hplink">verbal abuse</a> towards his then-wife.

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