WATCH: Ricciardo gets behind the wheel of Dale Earnhardt Sr's NASCAR stock car in Texas
Daniel Ricciardo took the wheel of his hero Dale Earnhardt Sr's 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR stock car on Saturday as McLaren CEO Zak Brown honoured a bet he had made with the Australian back in March.
The McLaren boss bet Ricciardo that if he scored a podium for his team, the Honey Badger would get to drive Earnhardt's 1984 race-winning Chevy, part of Brown's sprawling collection of historic racing vehicles.
And Ricciardo delivered not just a podium, but a race win – leading a McLaren one-two – at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix. As his reward, he took the keys of the Chevrolet at the Circuit of The Americas on Saturday ahead of final practice and will drive it again on Sunday morning too.
Earnhardt won seven NASCAR Cup titles – a record shared with Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson – and took 76 race wins over 676 NASCAR Cup Series starts from 1975 to 2001. He died in a tragic accident at the 2001 Daytona 500 leaving a lasting legacy as The Intimidator.
"That’s a special car," said Brown on Friday. "That started off life in 1983. It’s actually Ricky Rudd’s car that won at Riverside. I was at that race. And then it got converted to Dale Earnhardt Sr’s car in the ’84 and ’85 season, and won a handful of races, so it’s the real deal.
"We flew it out here from England where it lives, and Daniel’s going to give it a go. He did a seat fitting, which was I think more of just making sure that the seat-belts fit," added Brown.
Ricciardo got into the full spirit of this incredible opportunity as he also brought with him an Earnhardt-tribute helmet for the 2021 United States Grand Prix.
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