In the world of NASCAR, few stars were bigger than Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. During the 1990s and 2000s, those two men towered over the motorsports landscape. Their exploits, however, weren’t limited to the race track.
In 2007, Jeff Gordon was pulled over for using his cell phone while driving. Luckily for him, Dale Earnhardt Jr. happened to be on the other end of the line and talked his new teammate out of a ticket.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon were two of NASCAR’s biggest stars
NASCAR fans, like many others across the world of sports, can be fiercely loyal to their favorite driver. No matter who you cheered for, though, it’s impossible to argue with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon’s star status.
Earnhardt Jr., of course, followed in his dad’s footsteps and climbed behind the wheel of a stock car. While Junior never found quite the same success as the Intimidator—his concussions probably didn’t help in that regard—he still had quite the career. He won 50 races across the Cup Series and what’s currently called the Xfinity Series, claimed the checkered flag at two Daytona 500s, and took home 15 NASCAR Most Popular Driver titles.
While Jeff Gordon might not have been as popular as Dale Jr., the Californian still put together an incredible NASCAR resume. During his time in the Cup Series, he won 93 races, earned 477 top-ten finishes, and claimed four championships. That’s a career that anyone, whether they’re from the south or not, would be proud of.
The two men teamed up with Hendrick Motorsports
For better or worse, the modern NBA is defined by ‘super teams,’ where multiple stars join forces to chase a championship. In 2007, NASCAR fans got their own version of that, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined Jeff Gordon at Hendrick Motorsports.
Earnhardt Jr., of course, had started his career racing for Dale Earnhardt Inc. After failing to gain ownership of the company, though, he decided that he needed to head elsewhere in an attempt to win the Cup Series Championship. That elsewhere turned out to be Hendrick.
In June 2007, Dale Jr. officially joined Hendrick Motorsports, joining Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, and Casey Mears. While that move seemed perfect for the team’s on-track success, it also landed Gordon in a sticky situation.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked Jeff Gordon out of a traffic ticket
Around the time that Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon decided that, as the more senior driver, he should reach out to his new teammate. While that gesture seemed nice, it ended up landing him in hot water.
“I was driving to dinner, and I said,’ I’mma call him,” Gordon explained on the Dale Jr. Download, according to USA Today. “And I didn’t have the hands-free set up in the car, so I just call him. So I’m driving along, on the phone, we’re talking, I’m congratulating you and welcoming you to the team, and it’s cool. You picked up, and we’re having a nice conversation. And all of a sudden, I’ve got blue lights in my rear window, and I’m like, ‘Uh oh, I’m getting pulled over.”
The police officer explained that not only was Gordon using a cell phone while driving, but he was also speeding. At that moment, though, the driver pulled an ace out of his sleeve.
“I said, ‘I know, I’m sorry. You don’t happen to be a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, are you?’ And he’s like, ‘Well yeah, why? What does that have to do with anything?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’ve got him on the phone. I was congratulating him on something,” Gordon continued. “And he goes, ‘What?’ And I just handed the phone off, and you spoke to him for two seconds and got me out of it!”
Dale Jr. then quipped that he was trying to make a good impression on his new teammate; according to Gordon, it worked.
“He made the greatest impression on me,” Jeff Gordon confirmed.