Chandler, AZ – With great sorrow, Earnhardt Auto Centers announces the passing “Tex” –whom so many know to be the founder of Earnhardt Auto Centers – at the age of 89.

Tex Earnhardt is an American Success story. Born on December 9 th , 1930 growing up in rural Texas, near the Rio Grande River Valley, he (along with his family) moved to Chandler, Arizona as a teenager.

Son to Hal Earnhardt, Sr, Tex became a rodeo cowboy and worked at the family’s gas station located in “old town” Chandler, off Arizona Avenue. Seeing an opportunity to sell the very cars and trucks that he filled and serviced, Tex Earnhardt became the youngest person to ever receive a Ford Franchise – just before his 21 st birthday. Earnhardt Ford (the first of many Earnhardt Auto Centers) was founded on September 4 th , 1951, right here in Arizona.

Selling one vehicle at a time, Tex built the business by hand with hard work, integrity, dedication and sweat equity; the cowboy way. In the process, Tex raised a daughter and 2 sons. His sons and several of his grandchildren today are involved in running the thriving businesses of Earnhardt Auto Centers and Earnhardt Ranches.

In the 68+ years since 1951, Earnhardt Auto Centers has grown from 1 to 23 dealerships, representing 17 brands, with locations in both the Phoenix Metro as well as Las Vegas Metro markets. In recent years, Automotive News has continually ranked Earnhardt Auto Centers among the top dealer groups in the Nation (among more than 150 dealer groups). In addition to automotive dealerships, the Earnhardt Family also runs 2 “QuickLane” Service Centers and 2 body shops, and has nearly 3,000 full and part time employees. “The company today is based on values that Tex instilled in all of us,” said Dodge Earnhardt, grandson of Tex (and son to Hal Earnhardt III). “ ‘Treat everyone the way you’d treat your Mama’ and ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ are a few core sayings from Tex that we hold dear,” says Dodge. The Earnhardt Family – as well as the extended family of Earnhardt employees, friends and customers and surrounding communities – have lost a leader, founder, mentor, friend, neighbor, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and icon.

“Tex’s mark on the economic landscape of the Southwest and in the hearts of our family and Arizonans will endure for generations to come,” says Derby Earnhardt, grandson of Tex. “While we’ll go on… it’s tough to know that this great man is no longer with us…no longer atop Chisholm [the trusty steer in Earnhardt commercials] greeting our friends and customers and introducing them all to this amazing brand [that] he built,,” says Derby. “It’s a time to remember and grieve, but the company – and the mission to serve its surrounding communities – will continue to grow and expand; ensuring the legacy and spirit Tex Earnhardt are felt and present for many, many years to come”, said sons Hal and Jim Babe Earnhardt.

Condolences may be expressed on the Earnhardt Auto Centers corporate Facebook or Instagram pages (@EarnhardtAutoCenters on Facebook and @earnhardt_auto_centers on Instagram). Out of respect for Tex and the Earnhardt Family, the Family has requested to honor Tex by not sending gifts, flowers or plants – but to simply send a card and (if desired) make a charitable monetary donation in Tex’s memory to the Chandler Compadres:

In Memory of Tex Earnhardt care of the Chandler Compadres:
Chandler Compadres
PO Box 11038, Chandler, AZ 85248
Phone: 480 895-2152

Additionally, cards may also be sent directly to:
In Memory of Tex c/o Executive Offices
7300 W. Orchid Lane
Chandler, AZ 85226

A Celebration of Life will be held, in lieu of a service, at a later date this year. Any updates to the aforementioned information will be made available through Earnhardt’s corporate social media channels as well as here on: