If you visited the Festival of Speed this year then you will no doubt have noticed that there was a particularly strong presence of vehicles, drivers and riders from the United States. From BJ Baldwin amazing the crowd with his wild Chevy Trophy Truck to the great Fast Freddie Spencer on his Honda, FoS was awash with some fine representatives of North American motorsport. Unsurprisingly, GRR selected several for the Goodwood Greats treatment, starting with the machine you see here.
We’re entering a phase of motorsport where Formula One drivers are aligning themselves with a particular race number. Although there have been examples in the past (Villeneuve as 27, Mansell as 5, Moss as 7 for example), it was only at the start of last season that F1 drivers selected a number which it’s intended they keep for the rest of their career. Arguably the whole idea was first established in the States and NASCAR in particular.
Over the years a number of drivers picked a number and, through their exploits, made it their own. With the possible exception of ‘The King’ Richard Petty and the number 43 proudly displayed on usually either a Plymouth, Dodge or Pontiac, the number that has struck fellow competitors with the most dread must surely be that of ‘The Intimidator’ himself; the late, great Dale Earnhardt.
As with Petty before him, when the competition saw the black Richard Childress Racing Chevy with the white number three on it in their mirrors, more often than not it meant trouble if they had ideas of winning the race. Over his career Earnhardt matched Petty’s incredible record of seven Winston Cup championships and to see his 1999/2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo roll in to the Goodwood Greats photography studio at FoS was one of those moments that makes all your hairs stand on end. There we were, effectively in a field in West Sussex, stood alone in a room with Dale Earnhardt’s legendary Monte Carlo. The stuff that dreams are made of …
What made the event all the more special was that his son Kerry Earnhardt came into the studio with the car! Typically, Mr Earnhardt had plenty of time to discuss the car, FoS and his father’s exploits, which you can read about here, which we’d recommend.
All that then remains is to absorb the stunning pictures of this legendary Chevy and reflect upon how fortunate we’ve been, not only to see it being driven hard at FoS, but by an Earnhardt. Long may it continue.