Dale Earnhardt Jr recalls on-track disputes with Dale Earnhardt Sr

Dale Earnhardt Sr once threw a shoe at Dale Earnhardt Jr after they traded paint in the race

Dale Earnhardt Jr on racing his father: “There were a lot of instances where we butted heads at the race track.”

Dale Earnhardt Sr was known as the intimidator. That name didn’t come from nowhere. But, did Dale Earnhardt Jr and his father ever have any disputes on the race track?

“I never rattled his cage,” Dale Earnhardt Jr states via the Dale Jr Download. “But, boy I pissed him off a few times.”

“I raced dad really hard. When I was out there I was obviously trying to show him what I was capable of doing. So, I probably was over my head a lot of the time, trying to do too much.”

“There were a lot of instances where we butted heads at the race track, on the race track.”

NASCAR - Twin Ring Motegi - Japan
NASCAR – Twin Ring Motegi – Japan

Dale Earnhardt Jr vs Dale Earnhardt Sr

On November 22, 1998, NASCAR ventured across the pond. The series landed in Japan to race on the oval course at the Twin Ring Motegi. The NASCAR Thunder Special Motegi 500 was an exhibition race.

This is not to be confused with the other overseas race at Suzuka. In 1996-97, NASCAR ran the road course of Suzuka, also in Japan. In the 1997 race, rain tires were used by NASCAR competitors for the first time.

“In Japan, we stole a set of tires out of his pit. It wasn’t really stealing. But, we borrowed it. Richard Childress said that we could take them, that they weren’t gunna use them.”

“The caution came out late in the race and Dad said, ‘I don’t feel like coming to the pit. We’re running like crap and I don’t think we’re gunna win. So, screw it.’ He’s around 8th place.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr saw on opportunity, “Man, there’s 5 to go. Let’s put tires on!”

Tony Eury Jr, the #8 crew chief responded, “We ain’t got no tires. Well, Richard Childress says we can have this set of tires. So come on, let’s do it. Let’s see what we can do.”

After putting on a set of his dad’s tires, Dale Earnhardt Jr stormed through the field.

“We’re running around 6th or 7th at this time, in front of Dad. So, we come in, get tires, restart. On the restart, I’m trying to pass as many cars as I can.”

“I got on the inside of Dad coming off turn 4. I’m in the gas and I ran him high off turn 4. He ran in the back of me, real upset.”

“Then, after the race he threw a shoe at me while we were in our little changin’ room. He thew a shoe at me, like hard!”

Like how hard?

“Like as hard as he could fucking throw it. He’s sitting down and he took it off and threw it.”

Did it hit you?

“No, it hit the wall behind my head. He threw it as hard as he could. I don’t know, he probably was trying to hit me. I don’t know, I’m glad it didn’t, it would have hurt.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 6th at the Twin Ring Motegi. His father, Dale Earnhardt Sr finished 8th. Mike Skinner won the one-off event.

Dale Earnhardt Sr vs Dale Earnhardt Jr
Martinsville Speedway

But, that wasn’t the only time Dale Earnhardt Sr and his son were involved in a bumper-exchange on the race track. At Martinsville, the shoe was on the other foot.

“He came to me and Elliott Sadler one time at a Martinsville race. Elliott qualified on the inside of me and I’m on the outside of Elliott. Dad’s starting behind Elliott.”

“He comes up to both of us and he’s like, ‘You boys got good cars. If y’all are smart and use your head, you’re gunna have a great day.’ ”

“We dropped the green flag, went down into turn 1. Dad ran into the back of Elliott Sadler, turned him sideways and he backed up the track into the front of my car and crashed us both.”

“I was so pissed. So, dad came by later in the race. I get my shit fixed and get back out on the track. Dad comes by and I just turn right and drug the right front tire all down the side of his car.”

“He comes over the radio.” Tony Eury Jr relayed the message, “Richard Childress said, ‘Don’t be running into him no more. If you know what’s good for ya.’ ”

“So, we had some rough days on the race track, for sure.”

Tell me you threw a shoe at him?

“Hell no, he would whoop my ass.”

Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Earnhardt Jr disagree on-track

NASCAR Thunder Special Motegi 500


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