According to Tony Stewart, the day in 2012 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. snapped a four-year winless streak at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., was NOT a national holiday. Maybe it wasn’t, but apparently, Earnhardt turning 40 is some kind of holiday. If you haven’t marked your calendars, that holiday’s coming up on Friday, Oct. 10.
Why am I suggesting that Junior’s 40th birthday is some kind of holiday? The motorsports media — including NASCAR.com, FOX Sports, Charlotte Magazine, MRN, among others — seems to be treating it as one with birthday party coverage, birthday previews, of sorts, with such things as Junior reflecting on turning 40 and looks back at his first 40 years. Okay, maybe I’m participating in the craze with my post here, but anyway. . . .
I don’t remember all this hoopla and build up before Stewart, or Jeff Gordon for that matter, turned 40 in 2011, but then again, apparently, hell still hadn’t frozen over at that point (referencing Stewart’s first tweet from earlier this year) and Stewart hadn’t yet joined the Twitterverse.
I think sometime during a Champion’s Week event or something similar, I remember Jimmie Johnson describing some kind of stair racing at Stewart’s 30th birthday party, but I don’t remember any media coverage of that blowout.
Now that I think about it, maybe this is one of those holidays we’re supposed to celebrate on Monday instead of the actual birthday — you know, like President’s Day. After all, the party was on Monday. And Earnhardt’s longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann played hookey from Better Half Dash qualifying on Monday to attend the party. Is that kind of, sort of, in a way, taking off work to celebrate a holiday?
Is this a holiday we’re going to celebrate yearly? Does that make sense? Junior’s only going to turn 40 once? So, what do we do next year? Are we going to start celebrating his birthday each year, or is this going to be some kind of every-10-year-holiday when we celebrate the “milestone” b-days? If so, I bet the “Junior turns 50″ blowout in 2024 is going to be one to remember.
All kidding aside, happy 40th Dale Jr.
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For your enjoyment, here are some photos from Earnhardt’s “epic” 40th birthday party from around the Twitterverse:
And here’s a video of Earnhardt talking about turning the big 4-0: