- Dec 1, 2006
Dale Jr. smacks loaner into Talladega wall
It's common for a car dealer to let someone take a new car out for a ride around the block, but this 2006 Monte Carlo went for a ride around an oval shaped 2.66 mile high-banked block with no posted speed limit.
When it finally come back, it was thoroughly customized. In fact, it looked strangely like the street version of a NASCAR Nextel Cup car after a race at the nearby Talledega Superspeedway. The car was covered with dirt and bugs, had a smashed right-side mirror and a scrape along the right rear fender, not to mention a couple hundred miles on the odometer.
"When I found out what happened, I called the guy I loaned it to," said Philip Alderman, the owner of Colonial Chevrolet-Buick in Talladega.
That call confirmed what he had heard. Rick Humphries, general manager of the Talladega Superspeedway, had borrowed the car for the day. Before becoming aligned with Ford, it was not uncommon for Colonial Chevrolet to routinely lend cars to track officials. When Dale Earnhardt Jr realized that he might have to drive a Ford around the track as a part of the ride and drive to show the new track surface, he wasn't enthused and went looking for a Chevy. The Monte Carlo was the obvious choice. Earnhardt grabbed they keys and promptly began taking folks around the track, often reaching speeds of over 130 miles per hour. All was going well until Jr. got a little high and "scraped" the wall, turning the brand new Monte Carlo into an instant collector's item.
For his part, Alderman doesn't seem particularly unhappy about the incident. In fact, the Dale Jr.-enhanced Monte is now the star of his showroom.
"We didn't even wash it," Alderman said. "We're willing to sell it, as is. Rick had Dale sign the dashboard and the sticker, and we laminated all the articles and pictures of the trips Dale took in the car around the speedway.
Loaning the Monte Carlo to track official: $0
Making repairs to the Monte Carlo upon return: $125
Having Dale Earnhardt Jr scrape the wall at Talladega with the Monte Carlo at 130 mph, autograph the sticker and the dahboard, generate untold dollars in media coverage for the dealership and NOT repair it: Priceless.
[Source: The Birmingham News]