SPEEDWAY, Ind. – With Dale Earnhardt Jr. set to embark on his final Brickyard 400 this weekend, Indianapolis Motor Speedway wanted to present the driver with a very special gift.
J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president, stepped to the podium and presented Earnhardt with a number from the old scoring pylon.
"We settled on number eight for a couple reasons,” Boles explained. “One, the eight is what you've been known for in your Cup career, whether it's (No.) 8 or 88, they come together. You were eighth today, which was pretty awesome, in that last practice session. But what we like best about it, your rookie year in 2000, you started sixth, but the guy that started eighth and finished eighth was your dad. So, this is not a three, but it has a connection to you and your dad."
Earnhardt was grateful to receive the thoughtful present.
“I like stuff like that. We have a lot of old memorabilia and we've got a great spot for that one,” the driver said. “I have a lot of respect and admiration for this racetrack for its history, for what it means to American motor sports and what it means to motor sports globally. It's an honor to have the opportunity to race here, so I appreciate that a lot."
The track was happy to provide the memento.
“Thanks for everything you’ve done for us,” Boles said.