Earnhardt Jr paces Darlington in his father’s Nova

John Harrelson/Motorsport Images

Earnhardt Jr paces Darlington in his father’s Nova

Vintage Motorsport / Historic

Earnhardt Jr paces Darlington in his father’s Nova


It was a long time coming when Dale Earnhardt Jr. paced last Saturday’s Steakhouse Elite 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race 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.

Read more at VintageMotorsport.com.