Published: Sun, October 15, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Bittersweet race weekend in Talladega as Earnhardt makes final run

Bittersweet race weekend in Talladega as Earnhardt makes final run

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s farewell gift from Talladega Superspeedway on Friday brought a big smile to the retiring driver and joyful tears to his wife, Amy.

In recognition of Earnhardt's retirement, Governor Kay Ivey declared October 15th as Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt Jr. clarified that the state of Alabama actually owns the vehicle, but he has it on permanent loan. That was fun. I drove it through the garage, so all the guys could see it. Talladega Superspeedway gave him the No. 2 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by his father for his rookie 1979 Cup Series season and his first championship in 1980.

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The legendry Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the first of his seven Cup titles in 1980 while racing for team owner Rod Osterlund. "They ran a Monte Carlo here (at Talladega Superspeedway) in 1979 but they ran an Oldsmobile 442 in 1980. This was the kind of vehicle he ran at Bristol and all the short tracks and the mile and a halves". I love to be able to sit in the vehicle to see the perspective of what the view is like. "It is pretty different than our cars today". There are no head rests or anything like that.

"I'm pretty surprised", he said of receiving his dad's Monte Carlo. The presentation was made by Grant Lynch, Charmain of Talladega Superspeedway, and Alabama Senator Gerald Dial, Chairman of the Board of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF), located outside of the 2.66-mile track.

The night of fan activities-which also included MMA fights featuring Michael Chandler and Roy Nelson-kicked off one of the most anticipated race weekend ever at Talladega. They have been really good to me.

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