Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Rusty Wallace were fierce rivals during the 1980s and 1990s, and the two Hall of Famers had plenty of legendary battles during their NASCAR careers. Take the 1993 Cup series season, for example, when Earnhardt narrowly beat Wallace for the title. Even to this day, not winning the Cup championship that year remains one of Wallace's biggest regrets.
Despite their rivalry, Rusty and Dale also happened to be good friends, with their families even going on vacations together. To this day, Wallace still likes to reminiscence about his best (and worst) memories with The Intimidator. Considering their rich history as competitors and friends, it should come as no surprise that Dale Sr. was both Rusty's favorite and least favorite racer to run against.
"My favorite competitor was the late Dale Sr., because if you beat him, you were recognized around the world that you have really done something, because he was always known as being the best," Wallace told NBC Sports in 2017.
"My least favorite competitor was Dale Sr., as well. When I looked in my rearview mirror and I'd say to myself, 'Ah crap, I'm going to have to deal with this guy again. Here we go. It was like wrestling a bull. I never have, but it felt that way. I've had him all over me, trying to intimidate me. So, he was my favorite and my least favorite."
Clearly, Dale Sr. was a master of getting on Rusty's nerves, and perhaps nothing was more evident of this than the incident after the 1995 Bristol night race, when Rusty threw a water bottle at Dale after the race and hit him square in the chest.
The rivalry between Rusty and Dale sometimes manifested itself in a more lighthearted manner, as the two NASCAR legends also enjoyed playing practical jokes on each other. Occasionally, these pranks were captured on camera, like the time Rusty got one over on Dale during this segment from ESPN's Race Day America in 1988.
If seeing this interaction between these two doesn't warm your heart, I don't know what will. It just goes to show that some things are bigger than racing.
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