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Since Dale Earnhardt Sr. died during the 2001 Daytona 500, his son has spent years acquiring memorabilia from his father’s legendary career. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made it a point to obtain items his father used while driving for NASCAR — and, of course, avoid throwing them away.

He even spent $190,000 on one of his dad’s old cars.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. spends $190,000 to retrieve his dad’s old car

Dale Earnhardt Sr. had a legendary NASCAR career that saw him become one of the sport’s greatest drivers.

He earned many accolades during his nearly three-decade before his tragic death in 2001. And in the years following that devasting crash, Dale Earnhardt Jr., even if he didn’t remain part of the family business, maintained his connection to his dad through the pursuit of memorabilia. He even spent nearly $200,000 to own a piece of his father’s career.

During an April 2019 episode of The Dale Jr. Download podcast, Earnhardt Jr. said he tracked down his dad’s 1984 Goodrich black No. 8 car, which his father used to win six NASCAR Cup Series races. 

He revealed that the car was originally a Pontiac Ventura. Over the years, he kept track of the vehicle, which was being used as a vintage race car, including at a pair of races at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.

The story shifted into high gear after the car was put up for auction in April 2019. After consulting his uncle, Robert Gee Jr., Dale Jr. dished out around $190,000 to purchase the vehicle.

He remained uncertain about the car’s authenticity until he saw evidence of hammer marks that his dad had made on the floorboards to lower the seats. Even that wasn’t enough, though. Then, he received the confirmation he needed when he compared a 1986 photo of himself in the car with the uneven holes used to drill a radio box into the driver’s side door.

“That’s it,” Earnhard Jr. said on his podcast. “I don’t need anything else. That, to me, locks it down that I am holding the real thing. … I ran back up to the house to tell Amy [Earnhardt]. I was almost in tears getting that type of confirmation that I have the car.”

Another lasting connection to his father

Dale Earnhardt Jr. may not always have had his preferred type of relationship with his father, but that doesn’t take away from the meaningfulness of moments like the acquisition of the 1984 car. The vehicle generated profound emotions, especially because it came into existence in a shop located next to his grandmother’s house.

“When Dad died, I got a pair of boots that were his,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Since then, I have been collecting more and more items that belonged to him. That’s been my own [mission]. Anything that I have gotten was given to me by someone nice enough to give to me or something that I collected or tracked down myself. I know it’s a lot of money, but you can’t put a price on it.”

This quest goes well beyond any monetary value.

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