My First Ride: Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove a 1988 Chevy S10 pickup


By Ben White

Sprint Cup star Dale Earnhardt Jr. had his eye on a very special ride when he reached his 16th birthday in October of 1990. He rounded up the funds to pay for a Chevrolet S10 pickup.

During every spare moment, he washed it, waxed it and detailed its interior with precision. But in a split second, it turned to a heap of rubble.

“I financed it for five years for a $100 payment,” Earnhardt Jr. said in a 2014 FOX Sports article. “I had it for about three months, and I flipped it on Christmas morning driving to MeMaw’s for a family reunion. There was a little snow off the road, but not on the road. I’d gotten a Walkman CD player from my sister with a tape adaptor, and I was messing with that, and drove it off the road, hit a driveway culvert and flipped over like six or seven times.

“It totaled the truck. I don’t think anything survived the wreck. Luckily I didn’t get hurt; it was a pretty nasty spill.”

Shaken but unhurt, people passing by checked to make sure Dale Jr. was OK. He called his father, seven-time cup champion Dale Earnhardt, and soon a rollback carried the badly damaged truck back to the family farm. Today, Earnhardt Jr. owns a fully restored 1988 Chevy S10 pickup.