Pre-race analysis and post-race recaps may be the meat and potatoes for most NASCAR fans, but no meal is complete without a little bit of dessert. That’s where the occasional behind-the-scenes story comes into play, usually involving something wild, hilarious, or a combination of both.
Unfortunately, a lot of these classic off-track stories can get lost in the constantly-evolving NASCAR news cycle. Thankfully, podcasts like the Dale Jr. Download exist, giving us a look back into the sport’s history and providing us with stories that we may have forgotten about or maybe never knew to begin with.
For an episode back in October 2018, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his co-host Mike Davis decided to dedicate a special segment to NASCAR pranks, following the then-recent news that Jimmie Johnson had pranked Martin Truex Jr. and his crew chief Cole Pearn by putting a bunch of little pink bikes in the team’s hauler (epic prank, by the way).
This inspired Junior to look at some of the best pranks from NASCAR past, and there are some absolute wild ones that it’s hard to believe actually even happened.
WATCH: The Best NASCAR Pranks, According to Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Not surprisingly, a couple of the pranks that Junior mentions involved his late dad, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr.
For one, there was the time that Danny “Chocolate” Myers — the longtime Richard Childress Racing pit crew member who was the fueler during six of Dale Sr.’s championship seasons — bungee-corded a porta potty shut with Richard Petty’s crew chief Dale Inman inside. Apparently, Inman was so pissed that Chocolate had to hide from Inman for a whole month. As we learn a little bit late, Inman did not have a good sense of humor when it came to pranks.
Another prank involving The Intimidator, this time more directly, was the time that Rusty Wallace taped a 50-dollar bill to Earnhardt’s roof while they were racing for the Cup Series title. Now, Dale Sr. considered 50-dollar bills to be bad luck, so apparently after Wallace did the deed, Earnhardt “jumped out of the car, screaming like a little girl.” I’m guessing that was the first, and last, time he ever reacted like that on race day.
As it turns out, Earnhardt and Wallace had quite the prank war back in the day. Earnhardt once put sardines underneath the seat of Rusty’s car on a really hot day at Phoenix. Yeah, you can imagine the rancid smell. According to Dale Jarrett, “it stunk like crazy.”
Obviously, all of the pranks that Junior mentions are hilarious and legendary, but I think my favorite has to be the one where renowned stuntman Hal Needham got a Shakespearean actor to dress up like a voodoo doctor and walk around the garage in Charlotte placing curses on cars. Apparently, Dale Sr. thought it was hilarious, but Dale Inman “freaked the hell out.” Hey, not all Dales are created equal, I guess.
This post was originally published on August 3, 2020.