Dale Earnhardt Jr once had a Geoff Bodine hat; His dad set it on fire during their NASCAR feud
In the 1980’s, Dale Earnhardt Sr and Geoff Bodine had it out for each other. The Intimidator made a living, rattling the cages just to see what would happen.
In 1988, NASCAR hosted the Winn-Dixie 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earnhardt got to the bumper of Bodine off turn two and spun him around.
Later in that same race, Bodine relocated Earnhardt on the track. He pulled to his inside and then doored Earnhardt and pushed him up the banking.
Shortly after the retaliation, Bodine pulled himself from the race and drove to the garage area. He climbed from his car, stood in front of the Earnhardt garage and drew an X with his hands.
“I just wished him good luck for today,” Bodine later explained of his gesture.
A week later, NASCAR returned to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the famed Coca-Cola 600. Tempers again boiled over.
Bodine worked to the outside of Earnhardt at the entry to the corner. Earnhardt then purposefully forgot to turn. He clipped Bodine in the left rear and spun him around.
Bodine made heavy contact with the outside wall and was out of the race. NASCAR officials elected to penalize Earnhardt for that move, a 5 lap penalty.
Days of Thunder
Rental car scene inspired by Dale Earnhardt and Geoff Bodine
The story above is just one example. These two had many feuds on the track across several years of competition.
In the Days of Thunder film, Cole Trickle and Rowdy Burns were forced to come to a diner meeting with the head of NASCAR. They took it upon themselves to beat the bumpers off the rental cars on the way there.
That scene was inspired by this story.
Bill France, the head of NASCAR, invited Geoff Bodine and Dale Earnhardt to headquarters in Daytona. Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Geoff Bodine and Dale Earnhardt all sat down in the office of Bill France.
France then told them they would all go to dinner together. The catch is that Geoff and Dale would ride in the car together.
Dale Earnhardt said, “I can’t. I got plans.”
Bill France pointed to the wall and said, “There’s a phone, change your plans.”
Living with The Intimidator
Dale Earnhardt drove for Richard Childress Racing. Geoff Bodine drove for Hendrick Motorsports.
At home, Dale Earnhardt had a son who was watching his every move and quietly studying the sport. Dale Jr happened to own a #5 Geoff Bodine hat that was given to him by his grandfather, on his way to becoming a young historian of the sport.
Dale Sr set it on fire.
“I wore one of these once. Got it from my grandfather Robert Gee who was a body man for HMS at the time. Dad pulled it off my head, set it on fire, and threw it on the ground to burn. Savage,” Dale Earnhardt Jr stated.