If there was one single man on this planet who could truly pull off a mustache, it was Dale Earnhardt.
He was known for that signature facial hair, having a mustache for most of his career and life, and it’s obviously just part of what made him so intimidating, if you will… he came by the nickname honest.
And in an interview with ESPN back in 2015, Steve Ellsworth, Dale Sr.’s longtime barber, gave the public some insight into just how particular The Intimidator was about how it looked.
Ellsworth started cutting Sr.’s hair in the early 80’s, and said that once he finally talked his client into letting him trim the mustache, Sr. was afraid his longtime sponsor Wrangler wouldn’t approve:
“I was intimidated by the Intimidator, to say the least. The first three times I cut his hair, I couldn’t touch the mustache. He liked that big bushy mustache.
I finally talked him into to it, and he said, ‘Oh Lord! Wrangler’s gonna fire me!'”
And after that, Ellsworth thought he might never come back… but he did.
The only problem, though, was that because of Sr.’s insanely busy schedule, he’d come in at 5:30AM (with an egg sandwich, of course), just to fit it all in:
“I thought, ‘That guy is never going to come back.’ But he did, and he brought this guy Jr. with him.
He used to joke that it was hard to keep him still after 5:30 in the morning. Three or four times, he wanted to get a haircut, and if I didn’t have any openings, I’d ask what time he could come.
He said, ‘How ’bout that 5:30 deal?’ He’d usually come in with an egg sandwich or something.”
Eventually, they both realized that was a really horrific time to be getting a haircut, and Ellsworth started going into the DEI shop to do it at much more reasonable hours:
“One time he said, ‘This really isn’t fair to you or me — we’ve really got to quit this.’ So then I actually used to go into the DEI shop fairly often to cut his hair.
He’d say, ‘I’ve got a shoot tomorrow for Coke, or whoever it may be, and I gotta have a haircut.’ So I kept tools at home so I could run to the shop and cut his hair. I’d cut his hair and my son would go fishing in the pond out back.
It was a privilege and an honor to do his hair all those years, because as big as he was, anybody would have wanted to cut his hair, or be able to say they cut his hair. He could have gone anywhere, but he’d find time to come to me.”
And about that time he actually full shaved off the stache… in a 1999 interview with the Greensboro News & Record, Sr. recalled a snorkeling trip with Michael Waltrip, where he was having problems getting the mask to stay on correctly.
It wouldn’t seal above his mouth because of the mustache, and water rushed in when he would go under the surface, so he really only had one choice.
He hopped up on the boat, and shaved it right the and there:
“Man, I was just drowning. I got up on the boat and shaved. Then I could go down about 10-12 feet and not drown.
I don’t think it’ll affect any of my racing skills. It didn’t in ’82, anyway. We still won races.”
Like he mentioned, when he shaved it ahead of the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1999, it was just the second time he’d ever done it, the first being back in 1982 (we’ll get to that in a sec, so make sure you keep reading to see how wild it is so see him completely clean-shaven).
But of course, he knew it wouldn’t affect his racing skills, and he made sure to mention that it was already growing back too… classic:
“I don’t think it will affect my racing skills… it’s growing back as we speak.”
And the 1982 Wrangler ad where he is completely clean-shaven is just a total mind f*ck.
Like, he still looks handsome, but something about this just feels… wrong: