Drivers, team owner share favorite Dale Junior memories
By Dominic Aragon and Matt Courson
November 19, 2017
HOMESTEAD, Fla.—The Ford EcoBoost 400 will mark Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Various drivers we talked to share their favorite Dale Junior memories.
No. 00 Derrike Cope: “In recent times, we were talking at an XFINITY race up on the platform.
“We were talking about things, about what was going on, the changes and stuff, and he said, ‘You know what, funny thing. I was sitting in the car, and they handed me the computer, that you could look at all the data and lap times, and it brought back a memory that I knocked off your computer at the top of the hauler at Daytona. Do you remember that?’
“I said, ‘Oh yes, I remember that quite vividly, because (racing executive) Steve Peterson was quite upset with you.’
“He said, ‘Yeah, I remember. It’s funny how something like that, that long ago, just comes and reflects, and you reflect on things like that.’”
No. 22 Joey Logano: “It’s just cool to say you’ve raced against Dale Junior. That’s kind of a neat thing, being the Most Popular Driver in our sport.
No. 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt: “Off the racetrack, going out boat fishing with him.
“He’s not much of an outdoorsman, but he’s starting to get into it more and enjoy hunting and fishing. We went out boat fishing, he wasn’t very good at it, but we had a good time, drinking a lot of beer and just enjoyed time away from racing.”
No. 66 David Starr: “Personal stuff. Been out on a boat with Dale Junior, just a great guy. We’ve been good friends for a long time.”
Joey Gase: “Winning the Pepsi 400 the year his dad passed. I was really young when that happened, but I remember it.
Gray Gaulding: “He’s been a great ambassador for our sport. Probably my favorite memory was just watching Dale Junior at Richmond.”
Jeff Green: “He grew up around me, I guess. I was driving his dad’s Busch car back in the 90s and he was still driving late models.”
Casey Mears: “The times that I remember most were the times that we weren’t at the racetrack. Early on in my career, spent a lot of time with Dale, he was real good to me.
“I came over from the open wheel side, my first years were pretty tough, just because I hadn’t driven any stock car stuff, and he was pretty encouraging and was helpful. We had a lot of fun outside the track, too.”
Richard Childress, RCR: “Dale Junior’s helped carry this sport to a whole other level, just like his dad did.
“I remember Dale Junior when he was just a kid. [To] see him grow up, see the things that he’s done, and how he’s accomplished and how he’s carried his life, I’m very proud of him.”