Earn­hardt hon­ors fam­ily tra­di­tions in new Goodyear com­mer­cial

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jenna Fryer

DAY­TONA BEACH, FLA. » Ralph Earn­hardt died in 1973, al­most a full year be­fore his grand­son was born. Dale Earn­hardt Jr. had seen pho­tos of his grand­fa­ther and lis­tened to stories about the first racer in the fam­ily, but he never felt as if he knew the man.

Then Dale Earn­hardt Sr. dis­cov­ered footage the Earn­hardts be­lieve is the only known video of Ralph Earn­hardt speak­ing on film. He was be­ing in­ter­viewed af­ter a race at Char­lotte Mo­tor Speed­way, and Earn­hardt Sr. popped the tape in for his son to watch.

“We were sit­ting in Dad’s of­fice in DEI and he said ‘You are go­ing to see Ralph Earn­hardt talk, and you are go­ing to hear him talk and this is the only footage that ex­ists.’ So me and Dad sat there and watched it. I had seen pic­tures of Ralph, I had no idea what he sounded like and I had no idea what his man­ner­isms were like and in that mo­ment, I was meet­ing him.”

Earn­hardt re­called that mo­ment with his father, watch­ing the grand­fa­ther he never met, in an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press about a new Goodyear com­mer­cial that will air dur­ing the Day­tona 500 Sun­day. The spot is called “Make Name” and hon­ors the a Earn­hardts’ long re­la­tion­ship with the tire maker. A.J. Croce cov­ered his late father’s song, ‘I Got A Name,’ for the com­mer­cial, which de­picts a young Earn­hardt idol­iz­ing his father, grow­ing into his own role as a racer, and now shift­ing in re­tire­ment to a job in tele­vi­sion.

The Goodyear blimp will fea­ture (hash)MakeAName in­stead of its usual brand name at the Day­tona 500, where Earn­hardt is the grand mar­shal.

Earn­hardt has al­ways been care­ful about in­cor­po­rat­ing his father, a sev­en­time cham­pion and Hall of Famer, into his own mar­ket­ing. Earn­hardt Sr. was killed in a crash on the fi­nal lap of the 2001 Day­tona 500.

His son went on to win two Day­tona 500s but re­tired at the end of last sea­son be­cause of a his­tory of con­cus­sions. He’s now mar­ried, ex­pect­ing his first child this spring, and tran­si­tion­ing into jobs out­side the race car.

This Goodyear script was a win­ner for him, though, be­cause he’s long felt a con­nec­tion to the Croce song and be­cause his fam­ily had such a strong re­la­tion­ship with the tire com­pany. When Goodyear bat­tled Hoosier in the brief tire war to hit NASCAR, Earn­hardt Jr. said his father was one of only two driv­ers to re­main loyal to Goodyear.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.