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$10 Million Worth NASCAR Sponsor Unmasks Untold Moments Before Dale Earnhardt’s Tragic Death

Published 03/01/2024, 7:25 AM EST

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It has been two long decades since NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt breathed his last on a fateful Sunday during the 2001 Daytona 500. However, for many, the memories are still afresh. Perhaps fans watching from the grandstands back then will always have the memory imprinted on the back of their minds. But the ones who really feel it in their bones even today are those who spent the last few hours beside the Intimidator before he strapped himself into the car that day. And among them are the founders of RealTree, Bill, and Tyler Jordan, who appeared to be reminiscing about the final hours that they had spent with the Intimidator on Kevin Harvick’s podcast Happy Hour.

Dale Earnhardt’s lifelong sponsor RealTree owners reveal an unknown side of the Intimidator

In his lifetime as a racer, Dale Earnhardt came across numerous personalities, big and small. However, very few shared a similar relationship that the founder of RealTree, Bill Jordan, shared with the 7x Cup Series champion. The outdoor lifestyle brand had shared a longstanding partnership with Dale Earnhardt, which lasted till the legend’s last day on the track. The host of the Monster Bucks, whose estimated worth is recorded at $10 million, had forged a connection with Earnhardt as a sponsor of his first ARCA race. This bond surpassed beyond the tracks of NASCAR and was marked by a passionate camaraderie that lasted until the last breath of the Richard Childress Racing driver. 

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Bill and Tyler Jordan walked down memory lanes during their conversation with Kevin Harvick on his podcast. Reminiscing the day that Bill Jordan spent with the Intimidator on the last day, he recalled, “I was there and I don’t know if you were there at the race, but a lot of people don’t know this.”

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“On Thursday afternoon, I flew in and covering the practice on Friday back in the day. So when I got there on Thursday he called me and said ‘What new hats we got?’ We had the Realtree souvenir rig there and I said, ‘I don’t know. Let’s call Chris’. So Chris Williams ended up bringing three or four hats. So Dale and I and Chris went through three or four hats. Teresa was not there when we were looking at the hats, but he picked out one particular olive black with a camo with his Realtree #3 on the front. So he said, ‘I’m gonna wear it all weekend’. That was Dale’s way of showing ‘I am gonna show you products off’, and we had the Realtree souvenir out there.”

The owner also recalled how the Hall of Famer had called him up and requested his presence just hours before the Daytona 500 race and how both were busy conversing about their annual turkey hunting. Jordan also recalled how the duo separated on the racetrack, while the RCR driver went to talk to his wife Teresa, while Bill Jordan was engrossed talking to the crew members of the team. After saying their prayers, Earnhardt revved up his engine on the track of Daytona, which ended in a fateful crash. 

Tuning into the conversation, Kevin Harvick also shared some anecdotes about the legend.

Kevin Harvick recalls the moment with the Intimidator when he was left speechless

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While this recollection of Dale Earnhardt may be heart-wrenching, there were often other instances that had left Kevin Harvick and the RCR world in stitches. The team members were left in disbelief after coming across the unknown side of the Intimidator.

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Turning the pages, Harvick recalled an instance where he was left fumbling for words. Speaking to his guests, Harvick expressed, “I’m, you know, 23 years old, and just everything there is great, and we’re going over to the trailer. We do our announcement, and we walk over to the trailer. He’s (Richard Childress) like, ‘Come on, let’s go see what. Let’s go see what Dale’s doing[…]’.”

“But I walk in and there stands Dale Earnhardt. You know you’re thinking this guy in this big GM Goodwrench suit; he’s got his underwear on and two gloves on his hand, and he’s like, ‘Hey Richard! How you doing, Kevin?’ And he walks over, shakes my hand in his gloves, standing in his briefs, and I’m like, ‘Well, what’s happening in here?’ He’s like, ‘Well, I got to wear these new gloves, and so I don’t like them if I don’t wear them for a while’. So he’s just standing up there in his race gloves and his underwear, walking around just in between, I guess, getting in his driver’s suit.”

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These unknown stories of Dale Earnhardt not only unveil a completely eclipsed side of the legend but also add to his grand stature. The candid stories that Kevin Harvick shared with the founders of RealTree are nothing less than music for the ears of every NASCAR enthusiast.

 

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Written by:

Ayantika Maitra

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Ayantika Maitra is a NASCAR Content Analyst at EssentiallySports. Using her affinity for research and storytelling, this English major has also woven some attention-grabbing pieces that have brought the women in NASCAR into the limelight. An expert in identifying trends and understanding audience behavior, she loves taking part in core sport reporting.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath