I mean, what did they expect from a guy driving the Budweiser car?
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. may have ended his career driving the Mountain Dew car, but he’s best known for the #8 Budweiser Chevy that he drove when he first entered NASCAR.
So you gotta think that the guy enjoyed himself a cold Bud every once in awhile.
Well, it may have been more than every once in awhile…
On an episode of his podcast, The Dale Jr. Download, Earnhardt sat down with Ty Norris, the former Vice President of Motorsports for DEI, the team that was founded by Dale Earnhardt Sr. and that Dale Jr. drove for during the early years of his career.
And it seems that one of the things Norris remembers about Earnhardt during those early years was how much he liked to party.
Actually that might be an understatement, because at one point Jr. was getting so much beer delivered to his house that the executives at Budweiser thought he was selling it.
As Norris recalls:
“I got a call from Tim Schuler from Budweiser one day, and Steve Uihlein, and they were like, ‘Hey, what’s going on over at Jr.’s house?’
And I said ‘What do you mean?’
Well, the local distributor just said, ‘The most beer I deliver to any retailer in the entire state of North Carolina is in Mooresville at Dale Jr.’s house.’
They said ‘Is he selling it?’
And you’re like ‘No, they’re drinking it.’
He goes ‘How the hell is he drinking so much beer? We’re delivering case after case after case and there’s not a store in the area, in the region, that’s consuming as much beer.'”
Junior was quick to point out that he wasn’t drinking all that beer by himself though:
“I had a lot of help drinking it.”
I mean, who wouldn’t want to have some beers at Dale Jr.’s house?
Norris and Earnhardt also go on to talk about one particular party that Jr. threw that he was particularly proud of, a New Year’s Eve party at a shop behind his house, when Jr. says that they must have gone through “100, 150 cases” of beer in a single night.
But not everybody got an invite to that party: Norris recalls Jr. coming to his office and asking him to fire a particular fabricator.
When Norris asked him why, Earnhardt had an epic response:
“Well, I’ve got this party going on and I’m sending out invitations…
And I don’t want to invite him. And if I don’t want to drink beer with him, I don’t want him working on my damn racecar.”
But don’t worry, the fabricator wasn’t fired. Norris said that he lasted until the end of DEI (although he admitted that he was a “strange guy”).
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has always been one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers, and has turned into one of the sport’s best ambassadors after his retirement.
And hearing these stories, it’s not hard to see why he’s so well-liked. It seems like Jr. knows the perfect way to win people over: Beer.
Junior Hated Beer When He First Signed With Budweiser
Junior’s love of beer is well-known.
And because of that, on an episode of his podcast The Dale Jr. Download last season, he had a listener ask how he was going to let his driver, Noah Gragson, drink a White Claw after winning the Xfinity race at Martinsville (a fair question, indeed).
Long story short for those who don’t remember back to last season, Noah Gragson won the Xfinity race at Martinsville and when he was offered a post race beer, he declined, saying that he, “didn’t like beer.”
However, Dale Jr. says he didn’t used to drink beer when he was younger either, so he’s gonna let it slide for now:
“I was the same way when I was his age, I hated beer. When I was that young, I didn’t like alcohol really that much.
I had to, when I was at parties and stuff, I was really, really particular. Like, I only want this one thing, so I kinda can’t be too critical of him.”
And of course, Dale Jr. was sponsored by Budweiser for many years during his racing career, which is what makes it even funnier that he didn’t like beer.
When he first signed the deal with them way back in the day, he had to go to a fancy dinner with the Busch family and his dad, the late, great Dale Earnhardt.
On the way there, it hit him that he was probably gonna have to get a beer with his meal:
“I remember, and y’all will laugh, man. So when we signed the Budweiser deal, right, I was not a beer drinker. At all. And we were goin’ to like, a big steakhouse in Charlotte with the Busch family and dad.
And I said to dad on the way there, I said, ‘Am I gonna have to drink a beer at this dinner?'”
Obviously, any other beverage option was completely out of the question:
“And he’s like, ‘You’re damn right you are.’
And he’s like, ‘Get you a Bud heavy, and you sit there and you drink that beer.’ And I was like, ‘Man, alright.’ And so I did. And over time, everybody used to say it’s an acquired taste, and that’s what it is.”
Dale’s sister, Kelley, was a guest on this episode, and they talked about all the stuff they used to drink back in the day, like Boone’s Farm and wine coolers.
But Dale says his favorite (and most dangerous) drink is called a “Jimmy Drop”:
“I’m gonna tell you right now, you know, I was sponsored by Mountain Dew a long time, right. But our family was even before that, was a Sun Drop family. We had Sun Drop, which if you don’t know what that is, it’s kind of a regional thing.
But it’s like a Mountain Dew, tastes like Mountain Dew, Mellow Yellow, it’s a yellow soda. That was regional to Salisbury, Kannapolis, so our family, way, way back when dad was young, they drank it forever.
And I used to mix it with Jim Beam, and we called them Jimmy Drops. And that was pretty good, but pretty rough on ya. I never mixed soda with vodka before… High Rock and Sun Drop is really good.”
High Rock is Dale Jr.’s new(ish) vodka brand, and as a Sun Drop addict myself, I think I’m gonna have to give that mix a try… the Cherry Lemon Sun Drop is the best, though, so I think I might have just found a new favorite drink.
Seriously, if I had to pick a dream collaboration outside of country music, it would be this:
Three things I can’t get enough of – @HighRockVodka, SunDrop, and now…