Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s First Race Car Betrayed His ‘Bully’ Nickname

NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. spent his iconic career known as “The Intimidator.”

Such a nickname exudes freshness and masculinity. Until his tragic death in 2001, Earnhardt was the face of NASCAR, the driver who had racing fans of all ages spending hours watching and supporting him every Sunday.

Throughout his career, Earnhardt drove his famous #3 car. But even his most ardent fans will be shocked when they see Earnhardt’s original race car.

Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s first race car was a pink sedan

NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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When 1970 rolled around, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was an aspiring young racer trying to one day make a career in NASCAR.

Earnhardt had no shortage of pilots in his life at the time. Earnhardt’s father, Ralph, was a former Cup Series driver who had 16 top 10 finishes from 51 races in six years. Dale Sr.’s neighbors Ray and David Oliver even provided the 19-year-old with his first race car.

If you envision Earnhardt driving a sleek, old-school car, you’re right. Earnhardt received a 1956 Ford Victoria, a two-door sedan, from his neighbors.

In the process of fine-tuning the car, something went wrong. According to The Earnhardt Connectionthose working on repainting the car—the Earnhardts teamed up with family friends on the project—mixed paints they thought would go with the roof, which at the time was purple.

However, the paint came out pink and Earnhardt didn’t have the money to change it to another color. So yes, the man who later went by “The Intimidator” used a pink sedan as his first race car.

Car doesn’t fit elder Earnhardt’s masculine image

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Let’s put things aside now and say there’s nothing wrong with the color pink.

That said, NASCAR fans can be excused for laughing a bit at Dale Earnhardt’s situation. It was 1970, when society’s views on masculinity were starkly different, and a man who eventually became the face of NASCAR raced around in a pink sedan.

Anyone who saw a young Earnhardt make a name for himself in the Cup Series probably never saw this Ford Victoria. When Earnhardt started his first full Cup Series season in 1979, he was driving a blue and yellow Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

His youngest son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., received the car as a gift in 2017, his final season as a Cup Series driver.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. is one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers

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Dale Earnhardt Sr. — and his entire family — can thank a pink sedan for everything in his career.

Having a race car, even a pink one, really helped Earnhardt prepare and have the opportunity to achieve his dreams. When Earnhardt Sr. tragically died aged 49 in 2001, he had already won 76 races and seven Cup Series titles.

Earnhardt was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010. His youngest son, Dale Jr., raced as a full-time Cup Series driver until his retirement after the 2017 season.

Earnhardt’s eldest son, Kerry, raced in what is now the Xfinity Series from 1998 to 2009.

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