Dale Earnhardt Sr. didn’t like his son wearing other drivers’ gear and one time it even led to Sr. putting one on fire.
As a kid, Dale Earnhard Jr. probably liked other drivers too than his dad. And given the different merchandise you can have from the different drivers, he might have been interested in having some.
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Dale Jr. recently revealed that he was a fan of Jimmy Means. However, he was not the only driver that the two-time Daytona 500 winner was following. Dale Jr. recollected an incident where he was wearing Bill Elliott apparel and it didn’t go well with his dad.
“Dad and Bill Elliott run into each other at the All-Star Race in 1987, and we go to Talladega, and they had these bootlegged shirts that said, ‘Guess who ran into me today?’ And it basically had Bill’s colors and Dad’s colors equally smeared across the shirt. Either fan could wear it.
“I took the shirt and went over to the Talladega short track. I’m 13. I had Dad’s number airburshed into the shirt. In my mind, now it’s Dad’s car. Look, there’s Dad’s door. I thought I had a badass shirt. I walked over to the Cup garage the next day or later that day, and Dad saw that thing and made me take it off right there. He was so mad at me. I was like, ‘What Dad? This is cool.’ And he was pissed off. And I was like, ‘But it’s your number. It’s your shirt.’ He was, ‘No.’
“He didn’t like the insinuation of conflict. He didn’t want his son walking around the garage and Bill seeing it, going, ‘What a little jerk that kid is.’”
However, this was not the only time Dale Jr. provoked his father. Another incident even led to Dale Sr. putting the apparel on fire.
“So my grandfather, Robert Gee, worked for Rick Hendrick, and Geoff Bodine drove his car. And Dad and Geoff would wreck each other all the time. Dad wrecked Geoff a bunch. I loved it. I loved when Dad would wreck Geoff. But I also loved my granddaddy, and I came home from his house with a Levi Garrett hat on, and that’s the one he yanked off my head and threw it on the ground and set it on fire.”
Also, it is certainly normal for a kid to have other preferences too than their father. However, it would also not look nice for your son to openly promote your rivals. Dale Sr. certainly proved this point to his son.