Dale Earnhardt Jr tells the story of a 22 hour backroads ride to pick up the guy he met on the internet
TJ Majors could easily take the label of the luckiest guy in the garage area. For years, he’s been the spotter for Dale Earnhardt Jr. So, how did this random come to meet NASCAR’s most popular driver?
Dale Earnhardt Jr met TJ Majors via the interwebs. The two played the multiplayer version of NASCAR Racing, online. That was in 1997.
Everybody says it was iRacing. It wasn’t. iRacing didn’t exist yet. In a round about way, Papyrus was actually the same group of people that created iRacing, years later. But, all that is another story entirely.
“We’ve known each other a really long time,” Dale Earnhardt Jr states of his spotter TJ Majors.
“I can’t even remember what year it was when we went an picked him up in Buffalo and moved him down here. It was 2001 because 9/11 had just happened, that year.”
“So, we’re going through Washington at 2 o’clock in the mornin’ and we got the windows down because we’re just lookin’ around. Seeing all the monuments. So, we wanted to go by the Pentagon, 9/11 had just happened.”
“So, we got off that beltway. We’re drivin’ down the road and there’s no traffic. We’re like, ‘Man, there’s no cars here. It’s so weird.’ Well, that’s because we had somehow gotten into a restricted area that was blocked off still.”
“So, here comes this police car. He’s husslin’ to chase us down and pull us over. Lights blarin’ and everything. He walks up real slow. We’re sittin in there, drivin’ a dually. We looked pretty suspect, I’d imagine. Like we was up to no good.”
“Once he realized who I was, he’s like, ‘What are y’all doin’ here? Why are you in Washington, DC at 2 o’clock in the mornin’ the day after Christmas?’ ”
“I’m like, ‘Well, to be honest with you we’re drivin’ to Buffalo to pick up a guy that we met online and move him down to North Carolina.’ ”
“It was so suspicious and it felt like a lie when I was tellin’ it. He’s like, ‘Just follow me and I’ll get you back outta here.’ Because we were completely lost.”
The road trip to TJ Majors
“The funny thing about it is… We got on the interstate in North Carolina and we drove about 10 miles. I looked around and I said, ‘This is gunna suck. This is a terrible idea. We gotta drive all the way to Buffalo why don’t we just get off the interstate, not even look at a map. We’re gunna follow the compass on the mirror and just keep going North. ‘ ”
“TJ is following us online. We’re telling him where we’re at. He’s like, ‘Man, you guys are going the wrong way. Why are y’all on that road? Get on the interstate.’ I’m like, ‘No, that’s boring. We’re gunna drive two lane roads. All the way there.’ ”
“So, we drove two lane roads. Not one frickin’ interstate until we got to DC. You know, we’re way off. Not even going the right direction. We saw a sign like hey go this way for the Gettysburg. I’m like, ‘Y’all ever see a Gettysburg?’ ”
“Then, we got stuck in the mountains because it started snowing, in Pennsylvania. We got stuck on a hill. We had to back down this hill because we couldn’t get up it.”
“It took us 22 hours to get to Buffalo. I drove the first 18 hours and then I passed out. We were drinkin’ Mountain Dew’s. We’d stop at the store, just about every hour for a Mountain Dew and a Slim Jim.”
A normal person’s trip from Mooresville, NC to Buffalo, NY takes about 10 hours. It’s a single highway, I-77 all the way there.
On the way home…
“We sorta did the same thing,” after 22 hours, Dale Earnhardt Jr and crew still hadn’t had enough.
“We ended up in Ohio. We had to tap out and spend the night. We went to a bar and got in a big ol’ fight. The whole bar!”
“These two guys were arguing. In like 10 minutes, the whole bar became half of the guys were on this guys side and half were on this guys side. And we instigated it into a fight. So, the whole bar began to fight. We watched.”
“We actually got a ride back to the hotel that night in a Police car. At one point in the night, me and the Police Officer were racing luggage carts down the hallway of the hotel.”
“That happened,” Dale Earnhardt Jr concludes the story of TJ Majors. “We made it and we brought TJ into everyone’s lives down here.”
Early on, Earnhardt Jr actually put TJ Majors in a street stock and later a Late Model for JR Motorsports. Next year, as Dale Earnhardt Jr retires from full-time racing TJ Majors will become the spotter for Joey Logano.