If there's anything in NASCAR that can be claimed without question, it's this: the biggest Dale Earnhardt Sr. fan out there is his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. You may not know this about Junior, but the former NASCAR driver is an avid collector of vintage Dale Sr. t-shirts. By 2018, he pretty much had them all, but there was one shirt that had been eluding his grasp for quite some time: a XL t-shirt commemorating his late dad's Rookie of the Year NASCAR Cup Series campaign in 1979.
Technically, the 15-time Most Popular driver had two copies of the shirt, one of which belonged to his wife Amy. But, the one he was looking for in particular was in a size XL so that he could wear it around the house. Every single day, Dale checked eBay for the shirt to no avail. Thankfully, Connie Goodman showed up to save the day.
If you caught my podcast this week, you know about this moment. Watch it go down today on the #DJD tv show on @NASCARonNBC. pic.twitter.com/7DB0zsDGEs
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 19, 2018
An old family friend and diehard Dale Sr. fan, Connie happens to collect vintage shirts as well, and on an episode of the Dale Jr. Download podcast, she surprised the NASCAR analyst with a number of classic shirts paying homage to the Intimidator himself. Among them was a Dale Earnhardt Sr. Rookie of the Year shirt, still in the packaging, that fit Junior just right.
"We followed your dad's career and once he got the Rookie (of the Year award), we bought the souvenirs," Goodman said. "I thought, I'm going to buy one, that we wore, and I thought, 'I'm going to keep one, because he's going to be very famous one day.' Just knew it." Turns out Dale Sr. ended up becoming the most famous driver in NASCAR history, so Connie ended up making a fantastic call.
Now, if you remember anything about The Intimidator's Rookie of the Year Cup Series season, it came during his brief stint at Rod Osterlund Racing. His rookie class also included Harry Gant and Terry Labonte, who won the Cup titles in 1984 and 1996, but it was Earnhardt who would shine the brightest in '79. With four poles, 11 top-five finishes, 17 top-10s, and a win at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dale finished seventh in the points standing that year. And all this while missing four crucial races due to a broken collarbone.
Most everyone remembers Dale Sr. for what he accomplished throughout the 1980s and '90s, as he captured seven Cup championships and solidified himself as the arguable GOAT of NASCAR. But, that '79 season was the one that started it all, and it's amazing that his son finally has a shirt to remember it by. A shirt that fits, anyway.
MORE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Remembers the Greatest NASCAR Pranks, Including His Dad's Classic Sardine Stunt
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