The history books shows that Dale Earnhardt Jr. first drove for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 when he began racing the No. 88 Chevrolet.
But Earnhardt’s first time in a Hendrick car actually came in 2007 in a race where he drove both his Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 8 Chevrolet and Kyle Busch‘s No. 5 Chevrolet.
Earnhardt recalled this odd episode in his career on this week’s “Dale Tales.”
The episode occurred on April 15 at Texas Motor Speedway. It began when Busch rammed into the back of Earnhardt’s car as they navigated through a smokescreen created by Tony Stewart, who had spun exiting Turn 4.
Earnhardt’s team was able to make repairs to his No. 8 car and return to the race. But his engine eventually expired on Lap 288.
He returned to the garage where Busch’s car had been repaired from their incident but Busch was nowhere to be found.
“So there was this interesting perfect timing for me pulling and their car’s ready to go,” Earnhardt recalled. “I’ve talked to Kyle since this and his version of the events is he didn’t think the car was going to get fixed and he felt he got cleared to leave. So a buddy of a mine, one of my drinking buddies that was on the 5 car that I hung out with during the week, he comes over and is like, ‘Hey man, can you drive out car? We’re in a points situation, we need to get a couple more points here and go out and run.’
“I’m like, ‘This is awesome. I’ve always wondered what the Hendrick cars felt like. What the motors felt like. This is a crashed car but maybe I can at least feel the power compared to my car and what I’ve been driving.'”
Earnhardt called it “recon” and said there was nothing behind his decision to drive the No. 5 “other than my own curiosity.”
Watch the above video for more.