When the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Talladega Superspeedway this fall for the 1000Bulbs.com 500, they will have a really special pace car for the Playoff race at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. The car that Dale Earnhardt charged from 18th to the lead in less than four laps to secure his 76th and final Cup Series win, will lead the field to the green flag.
Driving Earnhardt’s No. 3 car will be his dear friend and car owner Richard Childress.
This will be a joint effort by the speedway and Richard Childress Racing, who are each celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year.
Childress said that the speedway called him and said, “What do you think about bringing Dale’s car down here, that he won the race with in 2000?”
“I said, ‘I don’t know,’ But how do you say no to your best friend on something like this,” Said Childress. “And I said, ‘alright we’ll do it.’ So I’m going to be leading the parade lap in the car that Dale won the 2000 — his last race that he won — we’ll be running that car, leading the field down here. Which is going to be a great honor.”
According to Childress, Earnhardt’s final car has never left the RCR museum floor, and has the original motor and tires on it still.
Earnhardt won two races in the 2000 season. One at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a photo finish against Bobby Labonte, and the other at Talladega in a stirring finish.
Earnhardt finished second in the championship standings that season, and was primed to make a run for a record eighth title in 2001, until tragedy struck on the final lap of the Daytona 500.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.