Ahead of his final race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Budweiser has paid tribute to the career of Dale Earnhardt Jr in the form of an emotional YouTube video. The company, who sponsored Dale Jr for many years of his NASCAR Cup Series career until 2008, took his famous #8 Budweiser Chevrolet for a run around Daytona International Speedway to “honour his legendary NASCAR career and toast his retirement.”
“We created this short film to pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his incredible career.” said Budweiser’s vice president, Ricardo Marques, “Budweiser has great memories of working with Junior and we will never forever his time spent in the Bud car. Thanks for the unforgettable moments, Junior.”
Dale Jr drove the #8 for Hendrick Motorsports from his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series in 1999 until the end of the 2007 season when he began being sponsored by rival drinks company PepsiCo Inc, specifically Mountain Dew. That was when he also switched his race number to his current #88.
During his tenure in the #8, Junior took sixteen of his eventual twenty-six race victories, including his debut win in 2000 DirecTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and most likely the most emotional victory of his career in the 2001 Pepsi 400. This was his first of four victories at Daytona, which also included two Daytona 500 victories; but the 2001 Pepsi 400 was emotionally charged by the tragic passing of his father at the same venue just five months previously.
“Budweiser will always have a special place in my heart.” Dale Jr said, “They took a chance on me early on, sponsored my first Cup ride, and paved the way to many great opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m deeply honoured in what they’ve done to commemorate my final race. It was unexpected and humbling. It brought back a rush of memories, but more than anything it reminded me how awesome it was to drive that red No. 8 car.”
This weekend’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be Dale Jr’s last race of his full-time NASCAR Cup Series career. He will be driving a special #88 Axalta Chevrolet that is in the style of the famous Budweiser #8.
You can see the full video, ‘Budweiser | One Last Ride’, below; courtesy of Budweiser on YouTube.