At 39-years-old, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is no longer NASCAR's fresh-faced cover boy. He's a seasoned professional who readily admits that the strategy that won him the 2014 Daytona 500 (skipping a refuel and emptying the tank) was a gamble. That's the thing about experience, it teaches you when to go for broke. It also makes you a connoisseur and – though he'd use a different word – Earnhardt is precisely that when it comes to cars. Unsurprisingly, he's got a lot of them, but not the spit-shined sports cars and tricked-out Escalades one might expect. The man likes classic American muscle and models that remind him of his late, great father.
He may not be old yet, but Earnhardt is sentimental, prone to looking in the rear view. Cars are personal to him and it's clear he feels strongly about the ones he keeps.
Earnhardt describes his 1948 pickup truck as "really, really rough looking with a lot of rust and imperfections on the body." The joke is that beneath it's crumbling exterior is a modern ride. The drive train has been rebuilt and the chassis is new as well, but he's got the horse blanket-covered seats and everything. The point is to make it look like the beater it isn't. "It kind of sneaks up on you," explains Earnhardt.