Dale Earnhardt Sr. is held as one of the greatest NASCAR drivers in stock auto car racing. Over his career, he had numerous unique moments on the track that shaped his legacy. With that in mind, Dale Earnhardt Jr. nearly lost a one-of-a-kind family item from his father’s legendary racing career.
Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s legacy
Before his tragic passing in February 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr. strung together an iconic career.
His dominance on the track behind his aggressive driving style earned nicknames such as “The Intimidator” and “The Man in Black.” Earnhardt Sr. competed for four decades, winning 76 Winston Cup races with seven Winston Cup championships, tied for the all-time mark with Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson.
His success helped earn induction into several Halls of Fames such as the Motorsports Hall of Fame (2002), International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and part of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class (2010). Given that being the case, Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently revealed that he nearly lost a prized family possession from his career.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s almost threw away a prized item from his dad’s career
Over the years, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has collected items from his father’s legendary career.
Many of which are priceless items in his possession. However, he nearly made a massive mistake with a prized family item. During an interview on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this year, Earnhardt Jr. revealed that he nearly threw away his father’s first cup win driver’s uniform.
“I am looking through this attic and we’re cleaning it out and we got a flat pickup bed truck that we are throwing all this garbage and stuff onto,” Earnhardt said. “I found this black trash bag and I just chunked it onto the back of this truck. with a bunch of other stuff. Thankfully a friend of mine that was down in that truck bed looked in that bag and he goes ‘hey there’s a driver’s uniform in this bag,’ and I was like oh man I don’t want to throw that away thinking it was one of mine.
“He pulls it out and it’s a yellow uniform with blue stripes on the sleeves. I get this uniform and start looking it and after a month or two of looking at pictures of looking at patches and comparing the location of the patches and any kind of identification to the uniform. This uniform is the 1979 uniform that my dad used when he won his first cup race at Bristol, Tennessee.
“I don’t know how I got it. I don’t know why it was in a black trash bag in that attic, and I almost threw it away. That load was going straight to the dump never to be seen again.”
Earnhardt Jr. nearly tossed away a piece from a pivotal moment in his father’s racing career. It was early in the eldest Earnhardt’s career, but his win at the 1979 Southeastern 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway was the first of 76 career victories.
During that same interview on the Dan Patrick Show interview, Earnhardt voiced that he holds a strong connection alongside a driver’s uniform from his grandfather Ralph Earnhardt.
Many memorable moments stowed away
There are likely many pieces of memorabilia that Earnhardt Jr. still has from his father’s career.
The driver’s uniform from his father’s first cup win ranks near the top of the list for his collection. Beyond the historical relevance of the suit, it provides a personal connection to his dad.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. played a pivotal role in shaping his son’s life as he followed in his footsteps into becoming a professional driver. He also earned a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Famer as a 2021 inductee.
He may not have lived up to his father’s success, but his impact was quite clear in shaping the person he became.