The NASCAR Cup Series is back at Pocono Raceway today, and as much as I’m looking forward to the race at the “Tricky Triangle,” I can’t help but wonder if this sign is still here.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is obviously the most recognizable face in NASCAR, having been the sport’s most popular driver for 15 years straight and now serving as a member of the NBC broadcast team on race day.
But apparently none of that mattered to one security guard at Pocono Raceway last year.
On an episode of his podcast, The Dale Jr. Download, after last year’s Pocono race, Dale explained that he had some trouble getting onto the track because he didn’t have his credentials in hand.
You’d think Dale Jr.’s face would be credential enough, but I guess not…
According to Dale, he had just left the broadcast booth with a backpack containing his credentials on his shoulder, when he decided to walk down through the grandstands and across the track to get to the garage.
The fans in the stands, who had made their way to the access gate to see who would come through, obviously recognized Junior as he was making his way down the grandstands. And Junior, being the man of the people that he is, happily obliged when they asked for pictures and autographs right in front of the security guard who was watching the access gate.
But when Junior finished up with the fans and attempted to make his way across the track and into the garage, the security guard stopped him and asked to see Dale Jr.’s credentials before opening the gate for the NASCAR legend.
Now, if there were ever a time to pull the “Don’t you know who I am?” card it would probably be here, when you have one of the most recognizable faces in NASCAR being blocked from the garage by some 25-year old security guard.
But according to Dale Jr., that’s not his style – and he didn’t have to say it anyway, because the fans did it for him:
“I have never in my life uttered the words, ‘Do you know who I am?’
I have never said that, I’d never take that stance, ever.
And I stood there and the people around me are doing that for me. They’re saying, ‘It’s Dale, it’s Dale.’ They’re laughing at the guy like, ‘Are you serious? You don’t know who this guy is?’
And I’m standing there and they’re doing it, right? I don’t even have to say a word. And the guy’s just got this shit-eatin’ grin on his face holdin’ that gate. He’s like, ‘I don’t care, I need to see your card.'”
Ok, so at this point the guy is either on a serious power trip or he’s just being a dick.
But Dale, who says he was flustered by this point, puts his bag down and digs through it to finds his pass to prove that, yeah, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is allowed in the NASCAR garage.
"I need to see your card." @DaleJr had a bit of an issue with a security guard at @PoconoRaceway that leaves us all like 😮
Dale Earnhardt Sr. Recalls Being Airlifted In Small Helicopter After Pocono Crash
Man, making me tear up a little.
Dale Earnhardt was coming off his fourth Winston Cup Series Championship back in 1990, and made a little appearance on the Late Night With David Letterman show.
Rockin’ his glorious mustache per usual, the two discussed the success he’d had in NASCAR up to that point, already wracking up four Winston Cup Series wins in his 10-year-career at that point, and his pursuit to beat Richard Petty’s record of seven.
However, things got funny as shit when Letterman brought up his brutal crash at Pocono back in 1979 when Earnhardt earned the nickname “Ironhead.”
Although a typically soft-spoken and reserved guy (except for when you pissed him off on the track), Earnhardt had this witty sense of humor about him, where he’d casually say something wild, and it would be hilarious.
This was a perfect example of it.
When recalling the crash, he said:
“I hit the wall in Pocono and it put me out… hit driver’s side first and it knocked me out, and they were transporting me to the hospital in a helicopter and it was a narrow helicopter, my feet were out one side and my head was out the other.
I sort of came to a little bit, saw a lot of air and sky, and I thought I was going to Heaven.”
He also delivered one of the most badass lines I’ve ever heard in the interview.
Letterman asked him why drivers tend to follow each other so closely in NASCAR, as opposed to other automobile racing, which is more spread out.
And with a smirk, Dale responded:
“Because we got more guts, I reckon.”
Chase Elliott Declared The Winner After Denny Hamlin’s Car Disqualified
Well that’s quite the turn of events…
Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag this afternoon during the NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, beating out his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch for his third victory of the season.
Or so we thought…
After the cars went through postrace inspection, NASCAR has announced that both the #11 car of Hamlin AND the second-place #18 car of Kyle Busch have been disqualified, leaving the third-place car of Chase Elliott as the winner of the race.
The win would have been the third for Hamlin and the second for Busch this season, but instead Elliott now has a series-leading four total wins with just a few weeks left until the Cup Series playoffs. The move drops Hamlin from second in the playoff standings to 5th.
NASCAR said that the reason for the disqualification of the Joe Gibbs teammates was a problem with the front facia of the car, and that there was material somewhere that it should not have been. Both cars will be taken back to the NASCAR R&D center for further inspection.