In 2003, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was already one of the most recognizable drivers in NASCAR. Even if you had never watched one second of televised competition, you knew the name. By this point, Junior had already won two Xfinity Series championships and was in the middle of his fourth full-time season in the Cup Series. While he was pretty much just starting out in NASCAR's highest level, it wasn't his skill behind the wheel that was attracting the attention of casual fans, but his skill behind the camera.
Naturally, this made him appealing to other industries in the realm of entertainment. After all, if you want to reel in potential viewers, it always helps to bring in a recognizable face. Thus began Dale Jr.'s impressive music video career. Of course, most of his cameos were driving related. In Jay-Z's Show Me What You Got, he got to race against Danica Patrick. He got the chance to drive vintage cars in Sheryl Crow's Steve McQueen and got to show off his famous "Race Car Graveyard" in Nickelback's Rockstar.
But, for one of his first-ever music video appearances, Dale got to share the screen with a fellow NASCAR legend in Tony Stewart. And, considering that the job description involved racing custom Chevy Tahoes, I'm guessing this was one of his favorite music videos to shoot.
Released back in 2003, the music video for The Road I'm On -- a song by rock band 3 Doors Down that reached No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock charts -- shows Junior and Stewart doing what they do best. Directed by The Malloys, the video features the now-retired NASCAR drivers racing custom Tahoes, which they eventually take to a local short track.
Now, as it turns out, Tony and Dale co-starring in a music video together ended up fostering quite the beautiful relationship between 3 Doors Down and NASCAR.
While sitting in a trailer between takes for the video in March 2003, Brad Arnold, the band's lead singer, ended up talking shop with Dale Jr. and Stewart, who was the defending Cup Series champ at the time. The conversation turned to 3 Doors Down potentially sponsoring one of Earnhardt's cars. Stewart said that if the band sponsored the car, he'd drive it.
Fast forward to August that same year. Stewart is driving Earnhardt' No. 8 Chevrolet in the Cabela's 250 at Michigan International Speedway. The car featured 3 Doors Down members on the hood and Arnold on the rear fenders. Stewart ended up finishing 11th in the race, while Dale Jr. finished 20th with the same scheme at the Cup race at Richmond International Raceway two years later.
On top of that foray into sponsorship, 3 Doors Down has actually performed at several NASCAR events, as well, including the 2005 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, multiple races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the spring race at Texas in 2011. Talk about a match made in heaven!