Bobby Hamilton passed away 10 years ago at age 49 after a battle with cancer, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. shared a story about the racing legend on the 10-year anniversary of his death.
Earnhardt shared how Hamilton helped him out in 1996, and it was the only time Earnhardt raced in anything other than a Chevrolet.
Dale Jr. had the dominant car in practice, and he wanted to run one more lap despite his crew telling him to come in. Eventually, Earnhardt was involved in a crash, and his car burned to the ground.
When he was at the hauler after the car burned down, Earnhardt heard a voice behind him.
“Do you want to race?”
It was Hamilton, and Earnhardt obviously said he wanted to race. Hamilton offered him a car to drive, but there was one problem… it was a Ford.
“I’m thinking, ‘I can’t drive it, because it’s a Ford.’ But I want to race real bad,” Earnhardt said. “So I’m calling my dad trying to see if I can get a hold of him and try to ask him if I can drive this Ford. It’s a Petty blue, because Bobby at the time I think must have been driving for Richard in the Cup Series and it had No. 43 on it.
“I couldn’t get a hold of dad, but I got a hold of dad’s general manager. … He said, ‘Yeah, go ahead and drive it. Just don’t talk about it and try not to make too big of a deal about it.”
Earnhardt’s team took some duct tape and covered up the “4” on the “43,” so the car was a No. 3.
Earnhardt was dominating the race, but his transmission failed with about 30 laps to go. But it’s still an incredible story, and it’s worth listening to Dale Jr. tell it on Periscope.