Life was different for the children of drivers when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was young. Early on, he forged a friendship with Brad Means – son of Jimmy Means, who competed at NASCAR’s top level from 1976 through 1993 – and the two were inseparable at the track.
On this week’s edition of the Dale Jr. Download on NBCSN, Earnhardt recalled some of the special times shared with his friend.
Earnhardt and Means would sneak into the media center and procure promotional material to add to their collection of race memorabilia. They’d wander into one another’s haulers and generally have the experience of their as-yet brief lives.
“At Talladega, we’d go and wander over to the dirt track at night, watch dirt track races,” Earnhardt recalled. “I don’t know what our dads were doing or where they were.”
In an age before cell phones, trusting the kids to stay out of trouble defined a different era – and it paid to have a buddy.
So long as Earnhardt and Means stayed out of trouble, their fathers allowed them to roam freely. As with most adolescents, however, trouble was occasionally unavoidable.
Earnhardt recalled an incident at Michigan International Speedway on top of the hauler of a rival team. Means was standing by his side.
“We climb up on top of the hauler of the 10 Purolator car and I knocked a frickin’ laptop off the top of the trailer,” Earnhardt recalled – breaking it in the process. “Knowing what I know now, I feel even worse about it. Because then, you could tell the disappointment on their face, but they didn’t say, ‘get the F out of here … you’re in the way’ or anything like that.”
For more, watch the video above.