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Even if you aren’t a big motorsports fan, you’re likely familiar with Dale Earnhardt Jr. While the driver became famous due to his skill behind the wheel (and his iconic father), he also had another talent: having a good time. Especially during the early part of his NASCAR career, Junior knew a thing or two about partying.

While most people would view cutting their head open as an invitation to sit back and take it easy, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is cut from a different cloth. In fact, the NASCAR legend once turned some medical advice to stay awake into an invitation to party, with some pretty messy results.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was no stranger to having fun

These days, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a veteran of the NASCAR scene; he’s an elder statesman, is married, and has two children. During his youth, however, he took things a bit less seriously.

During an interview with Graham Bensinger, Junior explained what things were like during his early years on the Cup Series circuit. Back then, having fun came before buckling down and preparing for the next race.

“It’s documented, and I’ll admit, in the Bud years, we had a lot of fun,” Earnhardt Jr. told Bensinger. “I mean, we raised hell. We’d go and party and when we did Bud appearances, we were in bars, you know, signing autographs for fans at a bar. And if there wasn’t no racing the next day, we would have beers and hang out. And when I’d come home, we had a ritual that we’d go to the bar every Tuesday. We’d go every Wednesday. We’d do back-to-back nights every week. … And when [the bar] closed, we’d come home and party.”

Earnhardt even admitted that those habits kept him from reaching his full potential. On one occasion, though, partying also caused a bit of physical harm.

Jimmie Johnson plays ambulance driver after Junior’s head injury

As the cliche says, things are all fun and games until someone gets hurt. At one point, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson experienced the latter part of that saying first-hand.

Early in the two NASCAR drivers’ friendship, they linked up at a Hendrick house party. One thing led to another, and Earnhardt dove into a swimming pool that was full of soap bubbles. There was an issue, though: The bubbles obscured the bottom of the pool, and Dale Jr. emerged with a nasty cut on his head.

Thankfully, Jimmie Johnson came to the rescue and informed Earnhardt Jr. that Hendrick Motorsports had a doctor-on-call, even in the wee hours of the morning. The pair hopped in the car and, before long, had the injury all patched up.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept partying that night and ended up mistaking a closet for the bathroom

For most people, getting stitches in the wee hours of the morning would be the end of the revelry. Dale Earnhardt Jr., however, did things a bit differently. In his mind, medical advice to stay awake was an invitation to keep partying.

“Guy sewed me up, and he’s like, ‘Don’t go to sleep right away,” Earnhardt explained on the Dale Jr. Download. “And I was like, ‘Not a problem.’ I was like, ‘We’re gonna go back and start drinking beers.’ We went back to the house, and I was like, ‘he told me not to go to sleep, so I guess we’ve got to sit up and drink some more beers.’ So we got right back to it.”

Eventually, Earnhardt and Johnson did fall asleep. They awoke, however, to find the former driver doing something unexpected. “I did end up peeing in a closet that night,” Junior admitted.

“I was passed out on the floor, and I heard a commotion, and I looked up, and Dale was sleepwalking and had the closet door open and thought it was the bathroom,” Johnson explained. “I was like, ‘He’s not going to. Whoa, wait! Dale! Wake up!”

What did Dale Earnhardt Jr. have to say for himself?

I woke up standing up peeing. This is how it happened. I’ve never slept walked in my life, as far as I know, and when I woke up, it was because somebody was saying, ‘Hey, Dale! Hey!’ And I woke up and I’m like, ‘Oh, no!

Dale Earnhardt Jr. explaining his trip to the ‘bathroom’


Dale Earnhardt Jr. Had an Odd Place to Turn to for a NASCAR Pick-Me-Up