As a third-generation racer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. understands the importance of family, hard work and heritage. Today, Hellmann’s and Earnhardt Jr. unveiled a special paint scheme that captures those key elements in a memorable way, announcing by video a throwback tribute to his late father Dale Earnhardt Sr. that he’ll drive during the Xfinity Series event at Darlington Raceway (Aug. 31).
Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 8 Hellmann’s Chevrolet draws inspiration from the same classic design Earnhardt Sr. piloted in his first NASCAR Cup Series start on May 25, 1975 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 2019 version mirrors the blue and yellow livery, showcases a similar font and recreates the vintage style of the No. 8 on the door panels and roof.
“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We had the perfect opportunity with the Darlington throwback race and I couldn’t pass up the chance. Hellmann’s has been completely supportive from the beginning and the whole concept aligns well with their core values.”
With the project combining NASCAR history and car design, two of Earnhardt Jr.’s passions, the appeal and significance of the commemorative paint scheme is evident given its intriguing backstory.
Carrying sponsorship from 10,000 RPM Speed Equipment, Earnhardt Sr.’s No. 8 was owned by Ed Negre, both a driver and car owner who made 338 Grand National starts between 1955-79. Negre’s son Norman worked as an engine builder for his father and the Negre Racing Team and was a close friend of Earnhardt Sr. In 1975, after some persuasion, the pair convinced the elder Negre to let them enter a second car, which Earnhardt Sr. would drive and Norman would crew chief in the World 600. With his approval, the two dusted off a spare car out of Negre’s shop and went to work prepping it for the race.
Earnhardt Sr. would go on to finish 22nd in what was his first of 676 series starts. But it was the start of long and fruitful motorsport careers for both he and Norman and the beginning of another chapter in their respective family legacies.
“It was a ton of fun getting Norman (Negre) in on it, too,” Earnhardt Jr. continued. “He was good friends with Dad and they worked together to get that car ready for the race back in the day. Norman had some old pictures of that ride and we collaborated to get the paint scheme as close as we could to the original. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
The No. 8 Hellmann’s throwback car marks only the fourth time Earnhardt Jr. has driven a special paint scheme in tribute to an Earnhardt family member.
Fans were urged to be part of the excitement surrounding the paint scheme through social media and at Talladega Superspeedway where fan-submitted photos were added to an at-track digital mosaic of the Hellmann’s paint scheme. For each fan-submitted photo Hellmann’s also secured eight meals for local Feeding America food banks as part of the Race To Fight Hunger campaign.