TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. certainly took a trip down memory lane Friday as Talladega Superspeedway presented him with three memorable gifts.
Grant Lynch (Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway) and Senator Gerald Dial (Chairman of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame) were on hand for the presentation.
"I don't know anywhere you can go that there's anymore people that have loved what you do at that racetrack," Lynch expressed. "Your dad was the same way here. On behalf of everybody at Talladega, all the race fans -- millions of race fans -- that have watched you race here, we just thank you for what you've done.
Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway, first handed over a bottle of champagne that came from the same box that Earnhardt's father sprayed during his final Victory Lane celebration at the Alabama track.
The second bottle Lynch passed Earnhardt's way was the exact bottle the driver celebrated with following his first win at Talladega in 2001.
Senator Dial then took over the presentation and asked Earnhardt to step outside the media center, where a big surprise sat parked under a car cover.
"You're the epitome of Talladega and Alabama," Senator Dial said to Earnhardt. "You have really put us on the map. You are an Alabamian -- not by birth, but by adoption. You know the governor has declared Sunday Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day and that's a great honor, so we're excited about being here."
The cover was removed to reveal the blue-and-yellow 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that his father drove during his championship-winning 1980 season. Earnhardt climbed in and took the historic set of wheels for a spin, but not before asking, "Do the brakes work?"
"I got to take it for a couple laps so that was fun," Earnhardt said. "I drove it through the garage so all the guys on the team could see it. It's pretty neat just trying to imagine what it would be like running one of them at 180, 190-mph."
The Chevrolet, which is housed at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, will now be on permanent loan to Earnhardt.
"I'm pretty surprised," the driver said. "I didn't think I was going to take home a race car from this weekend, but just have to thank Talladega Superspeedway and the state of Alabama. They've been really good to me and hopefully we can get them a win this weekend."
Earnhardt will compete for his seventh win at Talladega Superspeedway this Sunday. The race will air live at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.