Mooresville, NC — It was a long time coming when Dale Earnhardt Jr. paced last Saturday’s Steakhouse Elite 200 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the wheel of the No. 8 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet built and driven by his father at that track in the Busch Grand National Series.
Built in 21 days during the spring of 1984, Robert Gee Jr. (Dale’s brother-in-law and Dale Jr.’s uncle) says that the Nova actually started as a Pontiac Ventura with a Wrangler livery and was later changed to a Nova (since the bodies were very similar) with the iconic Goodwrench paint scheme.
The saga of how the car made its way into Dale Jr’s hands has been told throughout the last few years on his podcast, The Dale Jr. Download. The car was purchased at auction and later authenticated by Dale Jr. and Robert Gee Jr. using old photos and distinct memories about modifications. From there it started a two-year process (and long workdays from those at the JR Motorsports shop) to completely restore the car to its original racing condition. Last weekend’s pace laps during the throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway were the culmination of an abundance of work and passion from everyone involved.
During this week’s podcast, Dale Jr. shared one of his favorite moments of the weekend – walking up to the car in the garage and seeing it surrounded by admirers. “The car had been sitting there all morning and the whole garage got to check it out.” Dale Jr. said “That’s what throwback weekend is all about – telling and sharing great stories. Right out of the gate I am like, yes, this car is accomplishing what I had hoped.”
Dale Jr. mentioned that he has offered to show the car in the NASCAR hall of fame and will find other ways to offer fans a close up look at this important piece of motorsport history. For more on the car and the story around it, check out the story at jrmracing.com.