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Rainy weather means historic museum trip for Earnhardt

INDIANAPOLIS (July 9, 2009) – Thursday’s rainy weather kept Dale Earnhardt Jr. from circling Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an IndyCar, but it also afforded the driver a rare opportunity to visit the historic racetrack’s Hall of Fame Museum.

Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, made a pit stop at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday on his way to this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.

Earnhardt was scheduled to join fellow National Guard driver Dan Wheldon for a hotlap in an IndyCar two-seater and drive the car that won the 1941 Indy 500. But the weather postponed those plans, and the racing buff was invited to view the historic cars stored in the museum’s basement. This part of the museum is closed to the public.

“I filled up my phone with all kinds of video,” Earnhardt admitted. “I stood next to a Formula One car for the first time. I had never been in the same room with a Formula One car, and if you’re a race car driver, that’s kind of like being in the same room with a national swimsuit model or something.

“I was pretty much in awe just to be next to a vehicle like that. And all the other cars that were in there, Smokey Yunick’s little sidepod car, all kinds of neat little things that have happened at this racetrack and have been brought to this racetrack.”

Earnhardt and the Sprint Cup Series will travel to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400 on July 26.

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