Dale Jr. drives his father's old car around Talladega Superspeedway

What could make Dale Earnhardt Jr. want to climb in a car in 85-degree weather following two Monster Energy Cup Series practices at Talladega Superspeedway?

Dale Jr. drives his father's old car around Talladega Superspeedway
Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Dale Earnhardt's rookie car
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Dale Earnhardt's rookie car
Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Dale Earnhardt's rookie car
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Dale Earnhardt's rookie car
Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Dale Earnhardt's rookie car
Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Dale Earnhardt's rookie car

The opportunity to climb behind the wheel of his father’s No. 2 Osterlund Racing Monte Carlo and take it for spin around the 2.66-mile track. 

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame —in conjunction with the Speedway — feted Earnhardt with the car on Friday as part of his Appreci88ion retirement tour. 

But he didn’t stop there. Earnhardt drove the car into the Cup garage to share the experience with the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team. 

"That was great,” Earnhardt said after climbing from the car. “The state of Alabama owns this car. They are going to let us take it to Mooresville, North Carolina and show it off in our shop, so it is going to be great for the guys. I got to take it for a couple of laps. That was fun. Drove it through the garage so all the guys on the team can see it. Pretty neat trying to imagine what it would be like running one of those around here at 180/190 mph.

"This car is a 1979 (Chevrolet) Monte Carlo. Dad drove this car his rookie season, and probably his championship season in 1980. They ran a Monte Carlo here (at Talladega Superspeedway) in 1979 but they ran an Oldsmobile 442 in 1980.  This is the kind of car he drove at Bristol and some of the short tracks as well as the mile-and-a-half tracks.”

Dale Earnhardt Sr., drove the Monte Carlo to Victory Lane at Bristol and won poles at Riverside, Richmond, North Wilkesboro and Dover en route to the rookie title. The following season, Earnhardt Sr., piloted the No. 2 Monte Carlo for all five wins and to the 1980 title in all but three races.  

The Hall of Fame claimed the car was on permanent loan. 

For Junior, driving his father’s championship car is a thrill he won’t soon forget.

"I drove his No. 3 Goodwrench car a couple of times at some tests that first year we were together,” Earnhardt said. “But never anything this old with some history. I love to be able to sit in the car to see the perspective of what the view is like — so different from our cars today. There are no head rests or anything like that. A lot of air moving around, so pretty crazy.

"I'm pretty surprised. I didn't think I was going to take home a race car from this weekend. I just have to thank Talladega Superspeedway and the state of Alabama. They have been really good to me. Hopefully, we can get them a win this weekend."

Watch him take a ride in the car and receive the gift in videos here:

 

 

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