NASCAR

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Once Stole 320 Quarters From His Father Using a Car Antenna and Duct Tape

These days, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is nothing short of modern motorsports royalty. While he’s no longer driving full-time, Junior is still a busy guy; between owning JR Motorsports, hosting his own podcast, and appearing on NBC, he’s found plenty of fame and fortune. Back in the day, though, things were a bit different.

During his childhood, Dale Earnhardt Jr. decided that he wanted a new Game Boy. $80, however, wasn’t an insignificant sum of money. That inspired him to hatch a plan to steal the cash from his father, using little more than a car antenna and some duct tape.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. was a pretty intimidating guy

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Sr. stand together in 2000
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (L) and Dale Earnhardt Sr. (R) together at the race track. | Craig Jones/Getty Images

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While our story focused on Dale Earnhardt Jr., it’s worthwhile to begin by talking about his father. As NASCAR fans will remember, Dale Earnhardt Sr. wasn’t someone you wanted to mess with.

On the track, the Intimidator was never afraid to trade paint or toss some verbal barbs at his rivals; his signature scowl and black car also contributed to that image. At home, though, the driver didn’t automatically turn into a teddy bear.

While father and son eventually bonded over racing, Dale Jr. didn’t always have the greatest relationship with his dad. On one occasion, the Intimidator missed his son’s graduation due to racing commitments; on another, he gave his son a “look of pure freaking disappointment,” which Junior still remembers.

Those realities, however, didn’t stop Junior from stealing some money from his famous father.

Junior stole $80 in quarters from his dad with duct tape

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As a child, there virtually everyone wanted a toy that they couldn’t buy for whatever reason. For Dale Earnhardt Jr., that specific toy happened to be a Nintendo Game Boy.

Although Junior didn’t have the $80 himself, he did know where he could find the cash. His father had plenty of spare change, providing the perfect opportunity for a heist.

“I stole $80 out of my dad’s change jar and bought a Game Boy,” Earnhardt explained in a Dale Jr. Download clip in NASCAR’s Youtube channel. Stealing the money, however, wasn’t as easy as sticking his hand into the jar and counting the quarters.

Even though I got in trouble, I was real proud of myself for the ingenuity cause it was a big, you know, the big glass water bottle, the old ones. And I got the antenna off the car, put duct tape on the end, and fished $80 in quarters out.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The housekeeper, however, noticed what was going on and eventually alerted the Intimidator. It’s unclear if Junior got to keep the Game Boy.

These days, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s net worth lets him buy virtually anything he wants

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There was a time when $80 was a large enough sum to inspire Dale Earnhardt Jr. to MacGyver his way into his dad’s change jar to steal 320 quarters. These days, though, his financial situation is quite a bit different.

While he never claimed a Cup Series title, Dale Jr. still proved to be an incredibly popular driver during his time on the NASCAR circuit. That reality, in turn, helped him land plenty of profitable endorsements and sponsorship deals. That success, combined with his media work and ownership of JR Motorsports, has helped Earnhardt build up a massive net worth, estimated to be around $300 million.

Since Junior’s youth, Nintendo has moved on; they’re no longer producing new Game Boys. If they were, though, Dale Earnhardt Jr. could afford to buy as many as his heart desired.