A Look Back In Talladega History: 5 Time Winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. Reflects
Dale Earnhardt earned 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at Talladega Superspeedway, more than any other driver. It his was mastery of the 2.66-mile superspeedway that captivated a young Dale Earnhardt Jr’s attention and led to the prodigy earning five wins himself. Earnhardt Jr. shared his thoughts on what makes Talladega a special place for the Earnhardt family.
“Talladega being special, I don’t know, it’s always been fun for me,” said Earnhardt. “I always liked going there when I was a little kid, loved going to that racetrack, and daddy always ran good there. When he ran good at racetracks, I was paying more attention to the race than goofing off. Obviously I’m not that good of a road-course driver because daddy wasn’t waxing too many road-courses, so I was probably goofing off in the garage somewhere during those races. He always ran good (at Talladega), so you always paid attention and watched, and had fun watching, those races. They had a great little garage area where we had our drivers’ meeting. That was a fun place to hang out. I had a lot of great memories from going there when I was too young to drive.”
But Earnhardt Jr. would grow old enough to drive and it was at Talladega that his father gave him an opportunity to experience racing on the high banks.
“I had only run 20 Late Model races; I drove a Street Stock car, a Legends car and then 20 Late Model races. My daddy called me at the dealership and said, ‘We’re testing the V8 for the Busch (now Nationwide) Series and we want you to come down here and drive it.’ He said don’t tell anybody, just come, and be at the plane at this hour.
So I told the guys at work I was changing over to the other shift. I said, ‘I ain’t coming back until tomorrow…don’t ask.’ I went to Talladega and got in a car and drove. That was the greatest thing in the world at that time, and I couldn’t tell a soul.”
If that left any doubt as to why he loves Talladega Superspeedway so much, Earnhardt Jr. summed it up.
“I just love the place. It’s got a lot of history. The Alabama Gang and everything that happened there with that, they made it a great racetrack and a popular racetrack…Red Farmer and Bobby (Allison) and all them guys. We came in and won some races and made it a pretty exciting place too.”
In 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, Earnhardt Jr. has five wins, and ten top-ten finishes. His average starting position is 17.6 and his average finishing position is 14.8.
Race fans will be able to watch Dale Earnhardt Jr. try to make even more special memories at Talladega Superspeedway during the April 24-26 Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Tickets are available at 1-877-Go2-DEGA or www.talladegasuperspeedway.com
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009 during the triple-header, Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 24-26, featuring the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.
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