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.
Tony told some wild stories about his friend, like how Sr. used to throw lug nuts at people’s windshields on the road, which exemplified the outlaw legend that Dale Earnhardt has become known for.
And in fact, back in the late 70’s, Sr. started an actual 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.
The purse totaled $10,000 for the winner and $6,000 for second place, with it being a 200 lap race. Furr noted that it was non-negotiable that they run first or second so they could eat the next day, and they worked on their own cars at the time so they didn’t have to pay anyone to do it for them.
This race was at the end of the year, and they had to have the money to get them through the Winter. I mean, Tony said they quite literally couldn’t afford to buy someone a Coke just to give you an idea of how badly they needed the money:
“He couldn’t buy you a Coca-Cola and neither could I.”
Sr. qualified 3rd in the Busch beer Dodge for that race, and he had some stiff competition in a Florida driver named Dickie Anderson:
“This Dickie Anderson guy, he comes up, a hot shoot from wherever Florida… somethin’ happens to him he ends up in the rear.
Your dad, we lead like 140-some laps of that race. At 15 to go, we got a hole knocked in the radiator. I see steam comin’ out, your dad slowin ‘down, and this Dickie Anderson had whipped ahead.
What’s gonna happen here? We ain’t gonna have no money. I know your dad is thinking the same thing.”
Dale Sr. did what he had to do, and knocked Anderson into the fence before he could take the lead. Right about that time, the bottom fell out, and they had to red-flag the race and stop because of rain and bad weather.
Of course, the fans were pissed, because as Furr noted, neither one of them had the best reputation back then. They were the bad guys:
“Not a cloud in the sky, and they weren’t callin’ for no rain. They red-flagged the race because he was stuck in the gate, you know?
Here comes all the people, it’s fixin’ to be a helluva riot. I mean, they’re gonna kill us. Simple as that.
Here everybody comes, and all of a sudden, I’m tellin’ you there was not a cloud in the sky, no rain in the forecast, and the bottom falls out.”
Fans started running onto the track and trying to find Dale Sr. to do who knows what to him because they were so mad.
Naturally, Tony said Dale Sr. 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…”
Yeah, that’s another insane story you can read about HERE.
Anywho, Dale obviously ended up with the second place money, but he had to haul ass out of Metrolina Speedway so as to not get mauled by the angry crowd:
“Dale jumps out of the car, and they start running for him to kill him, and they’re running over to my truck where they’re gonna get me too.
Robert G is parked right beside of us, and he’s standing there and pulls out a pistol and is putting it to the side right there and says, ‘Don’t come over here, boys.’ Here comes Dale running.
My car is parked behind a six or eight foot fence, and it’s got a slope with barbed wire on it. Dale runs toward my truck, jumps up on the hood with one foot, the next foot’s on that barbed wire and the next foot’s on the ground.
He and Theresa are in my 73 Torino and gone. I’m tellin’ you, he was like a deer… I didn’t know he could run that fast, I swear to god. That’s the god’s honest truth. He is hauling butt down through there.”
Tony also added that he saw Dale Sr. later that night, and Dale was laughing about the whole thing.
He was just happy to have the money, $2,200 that went to him, because he’d never seen anything close to that for winning a race before.
Another all-time incredible Dale Earnhardt story that is, once again, too unbelievable to make up.
You can check out the full video below, and I highly recommend doing so.