The Intimidator. The Man in Black. The Count of Monte Carlo. The late Dale Earnhardt Sr. earned all of these nicknames for his aggressive driving style. Nothing shows off that iconic style quite like the one time he leaned out of his stock car to wipe mud off the windshield WHILE HE WAS STILL RACING at Richmond International Speedway (Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway at the time) back in 1986.
When it comes to crazy, old-school racing moments, this has to be up there among the craziest.
In the documentary clip below, Danny “Chocolate” Myers — who was the fueler for Richard Childress Racing at the time — recalls the iconic conversation that Dale Sr. had with Childress over the radio before he wiped off the windshield of his No. 3 Chevrolet race car.
“We’re racing at Richmond, and he’s got the car — it’s totally covered in mud — and he hollers on the radio, “Richard, I need to pit.” And Richard says, “Dale, I’d hate to come in and pit, lose all that track position.” And Dale comes on the radio and says, “I’m gonna be off the radio for a few minutes.” And then you see Dale driving with his knee and got one head and he’s cleaning the windshield off.”
Now, the clip doesn’t mention the exact Winston Cup Series race that this classic Dale Earnhardt moment happened during, but a little bit of digging shows that it was likely the 1986 Miller High Life 400. While Earnhardt ended up leading for about 128 laps, his crash with Darrell Waltrip’s No. 11 Chevy in the race’s final laps effectively took him out of contention. As a result of the dust-up, Earnhardt had to pay a $3,000 fine as well as a $10,000 security bond.
Kyle Petty would ultimately come away with the victory, marking the former NASCAR driver’s first Winston Cup Series victory. Of course, the most memorable moment from the race would be Dale Sr. cleaning his own windshield mid-race.
This post was originally published on February 25, 2019.