Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he wanted to ensure his No. 88 Chevrolet was still running at the end of the Ford EcoBoost 400 for his legions of fans, but his supporters apparently weren’t his only source of motivation.
Earnhardt told NBC Sports that, although he only finished 25th, his result meant that he won a bet with team owner Rick Hendrick. As a result, the 43-year-old will get to keep the car he ran at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.
The No. 88 sported a one-off throwback scheme for the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of 2017 that was based on the Budweiser car that Earnhardt ran at the start of his Cup career.
“The deal I had with Rick was if I finish the race with the car in one piece, I get the car and he gets the helmet,” Earnhardt said. “So I’m going to take this thing back home. It’s got a little scuff here and there.”
Not all of the scratches were put on the car during the 400-mile race, however.
“We ran into (Martin) Truex on the back straightaway because we were high-fiving him with our race car,” Earnhardt said.
It’s hardly surprising that Earnhardt was willing to mark up his retirement present given that he and Truex are close friends.
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