In January 2022, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was officially inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. His induction came five years after he retired from full-time Cup Series racing and 26 years after he broke onto the NASCAR scene in 1996. Like every inductee before him, Earnhardt has a display case of mementoes from his storied career at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. Think of the case as the ultimate Dale Jr. time capsule.
Leading up to his induction, Earnhardt and NBC Sports released a series of videos where Earnhardt shared stories about each item and why he chose them for his display. Here are some of the most notable.
2004 Daytona 500 Trophy
If you followed Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s career throughout the '70s, '80s, and even into the '90s, you know that the Daytona 500 seemed like the bane of his existence. It took The Intimidator 23 years to win "The Great American Race," and after years of seeing his father experience "heartbreaking" losses in the 500 before his eventual victory in 1998, Dale Jr. thought, "I don't want to chase this damn thing forever." Junior had much better luck than his dad at the Daytona 500, winning in 2004 and 2014.
1999 Busch Series Championship Trophy
Earnhardt never won a Cup Series title, but he claimed the Busch Series championship in his only two full-time seasons in the series. What made these titles all the more special was that he got to win them with his dad at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Instead of his first trophy from 1998, he chose his second one from '99 to include in his Hall of Fame case.
"The 1999 Busch Series championship was really important," Earnhardt said. "The '98 championship was unexpected. But, '99 was more, 'We're supposed to win this.'"
Chase Elliott's 2014 Xfinity Series Trophy
JR Motorsports, the Xfinity Series team that Earnhardt co-owns with Rick Hendrick, has won three Xfinity Series championships. The first came with Chase Elliott in 2014. With his big win that year, Elliott became the first rookie and youngest driver to win a NASCAR national series title
2000 Rolling Stone Magazine Issue
In 2000, during Earnhardt's rookie Cup season, he was the subject a profile in Rolling Stone magazine. The story helped propel Earnhardt into the mainstream in a way very few NASCAR drivers have been able to.
Other Items in Earnhardt's Display Case
Other items included in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s display case are his NBC Sports microphone, representing his time as a TV analyst, and his podcast microphone, representing the success of Earnhardt's Dale Jr. Download show.
Also in the display case is Earnhardt's 2003 Most Popular Driver award, the helmet that he wore when he won the 2001 Pepsi 400 (the first race at Daytona after his father's death earlier that year), his 2000 All-Star Race trophy, and his 2014 Daytona 500 championship ring.
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