Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks with Jimmie Johnson during Appreci88ion, An Evening With Dale Earnhardt Jr. Presented By Nationwide at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on November 28, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Jimmie Johnson Once Saved Dale Earnhardt Jr. After a Drunken Night Gone Wrong


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Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson have shared some pretty epic memories over the years. Back in the day, the legendary NASCAR drivers both raced for Hendrick Motorsports, and considering that they were in their twenties at the time, they enjoyed quite a few wild and crazy nights together. Sometimes, those nights were run into the early mornings, which is when all the best (and worst) stories tend to go down.

During an episode of The Dale Jr. Download podcast back in September 2019, the longtime pals recalled a story that's one for the books, involving Jimmie playing coming to the rescue of a completely obliterated Junior. Thankfully, Dale wasn't married to Amy at the time, or she never would've let him hear the end of it.

It was back in 2002, and Johnson -- who would go on to win seven NASCAR Cup Series titles -- had just won his second Cup race. The late Ricky Hendrick, who was the son of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, decided to throw a party. As many as 100 people showed up, according to Junior, and at one point in the night, it was time to move from the hot tub to the swimming pool. That's when things went south.

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Dale Jr.: So the hot tub's at one end of the pool -- the shallow end. There's a handful of us in the hot tub, and man, it was hot. Had it cranked up pretty high.

[Podcast co-host Mike] Davis: Most are.

Dale Jr.: And I am like burning up! I gotta get in the swimming pool and cool off. And so I jumped into the pool and dove into the shallow end and hit my head.

Johnson: I'm telling you, it looked like a cartoon when you see the cartoon character dive in the shallow end and their feet are still sticking up. I swear, I stopped and his feet were still there, and I was like, this isn't going to end well. And he stands up and [says], "Man, I think I hit my head." And there's blood just flowing, and I'm like, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure you hit your head."

As Junior recalls, Johnson immediately sprung into action to help his buddy. Not exactly an easy thing to do, especially since it was around 1 a.m., and they had been drinking all night.

Dale Jr.: Jimmie is like, "We got a guy. HMS has a doctor. He's on call, and he'll meet us, and we'll get this fixed." And I was, "Are you sure?" "Not a problem, whatsoever." So Jimmie's gonna breakaway from the party, but they're celebrating him, his win and the success and all that. And so Jimmie got me to the hospital, and we met this guy in this clinic. So he unlocks the door and walks us in. He's like, "Oh this is fine. You're gonna be fine."

So he lays me down on this table, and he puts this little sheet over my head and starts to go to work. And Jimmie's over in the corner playing with all the tools. Jimmie's walking around there going, "What does this do?!" Bing, bing, bang, bang, banging on stuff. And it's just a real funny scene."

Even after getting all patched up, Earnhardt still wasn't done for the night. As you probably know, it's not a great idea to sleep after sustaining a head injury. So, Junior took that to mean that he and Jimmie should just keep right on drinking.

"We went back to the house, and I was like, 'He told me not to go to sleep, so I guess we gotta sit up and drink some more beer,'" Earnhardt said. "So we got right back to it."

Several more beers later, and you've got a sleepwalking Dale Earnhardt Jr. peeing in a closet.

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Johnson: I was passed out on the floor and I heard a commotion and I looked up and Dale was sleep walking and had the closet door open and thought it was the bathroom. I was like, "He's not going to -- whoa, wait! Dale! Dale!"

Dale Jr.: I know, so I woke up standing up peeing. This is how it happened! I've never slept walked in my life, as far as I know, and when I woke up, it was because somebody was saying, "Hey, Dale! Hey!" And I woke up and I'm like, "Oh, no! Oh, nooo!"

Well, clearly Dale Jr. was a insane partier back in the day. The sort of guy to yell out "hold my beer!" before that was even a thing. Though, I'm going to assume that, at 47 years old with a wife and two kids, he's calmed down a little bit these days.

MORE: Jimmie Johnson and His Wife Chandra Met Thanks to a NASCAR Legend's Supermodel Wife

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