I thought I had heard it all about Dale Earnhardt Sr.
But as it turns out, however, it’s quite the opposite…
On Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast the Dale Jr. Download last week, they had on guest Tony Furr, who is a former crew chief and legend in the NASCAR world.
He’s also a North Carolina native like Dale Sr., and they were friends long before either one of them had any sort of notoriety or success in racing.
And aside from telling Jr. about how his dad used to throw lug nuts at people’s windshields on the road, things actually somehow got crazier.
Tony started out by telling a story about a race way back in the day, when the pair of friends were both desperate to win first or second place at every race, so they would win money, and be able to make it to the next week and try again.
Needless to say, Dale Sr. was giving all he had every week, and of course, rubbed quite a few people the wrong way, both literally and figuratively, I guess.
In fact, he almost started a riot at Metrolina speedway on a perfectly sunny day, where Tony, his crew chief at the time, notes there was not 1% chance of rain in the forecast or a cloud in the sky.
As luck (if that’s what you wanna call it) would have it, the bottom fell out right after Dale bumped the fan-favorite Dickie Anderson out of the race and moved up to second place.
They had to red-flag the race and stop because of the bad weather, and fans were pissed… he didn’t have the best reputation back then, to say the least. Fans started running onto the track and trying to track Dale Sr. down to do who knows what to him because they were so mad.
It was clearly a very different time, too…
Tony said Dale Sr. of course took off runnin’:
“Your dad gets out the car, comes running over to us, he’s driving my ’73 Torino that I gave him, he’s got no license…”
This man, who became the greatest NASCAR driver of all time, had been out driving all over creation without an actual, legal driver’s license… insane doesn’t even feel like the right word here, but it’s the first one that comes to mind.
A shocked Dale Jr. responds:
“He ain’t got no license?”
And Tony told him:
“Oh no, your dad didn’t have no license for a long time!”
Jr. of course wants to know why, and though Tony’s hesitant to say, eventually admits:
“I would say he had a couple DUI’s…
He didn’t have no license, hell, til about 31 years old, probably.”
At this point, Dale Jr. and co-host Mike Davis are in shock, and Mike has the same reaction I did:
“What the hell? Good heavens!”
And as it turns out, because of what Mike refers to as an act of God with the rain, the race is red-flagged and called with Sr. in second place, so he actually takes home the second place money.
Can you even believe it? Just when you think you’ve heard everything with him…
Some stories are just too good, and too wild, to make up, though.
What a life Dale Earnhardt Sr. lived, and it’s so cool that his friends are still around to tell the tales that shaped his legendary, outlaw career, and that Jr. has them on his podcast to share with the world.
Make sure watch the whole story below, because the story really ends with Dale Sr. jumping a barbed wire fence within an inch of his life while a mob of fans are trying to catch him…