It’s not just a McLaren that motorsport fans will be able to enjoy watching Daniel Ricciardo drive in America this week, after Team CEO Zak Brown pledged to honour a bet between the pair
Daniel Ricciardo will be getting behind the wheel again this weekend, but it’s not just an F1 car that the Australian is keen to impress in.
Ricciardo is also looking forward to driving a NASCAR stock car at Circuit of The Americas this weekend after a previous bet made with McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
Brown promised Ricciardo, 32, a drive in Dale Earnhardt Sr’s 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo – but on the condition the former Red Bull and Renault driver landed a podium finish for his new team this season.
And at the Italian Grand Prix in September, he duly obliged by leading home a McLaren one-two, notching his eighth F1 win with teammate Lando Norris second. It was McLaren’s first race win since 2012.
After the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Brown had laid the gauntlet down to ‘The Honey Badger’ by pledging: “Dale Earnhardt Sr’s 1984 Wrangler Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Get us that podium and the drive is all yours.”
The Perth man didn’t forget, and after his glorious day in Monza told reporters: “Dale Earnhardt – big hero of mine – and to have a chance to get behind the wheel of one of his cars is crazy. That will certainly be a ‘pinch me’ moment.”
Sure enough, Brown responded by tweeting “A deal is a deal,” and then on Friday, the official McLaren Twitter account posted: “You saw that right. Dale Earnhardt Sr’s 1984 Wrangler Chevrolet Monte Carlo will be driven by @DanielRicciardo at @COTA next week.”
Ricciardo however, has jovially hinted at a bigger reward, telling the official F1 website: “I’m like, maybe he gives me the car? I think it was always a podium, I get to drive it.
“We never talked about a win, so I gave him my shoe that he drank out of, so maybe he gives me the car. It’s a good trade.”
Earnhardt enjoyed a legendary Nascar career than spanned four decades, and earned 76 Winston Cup race wins as well as seven championship wins. he was still racing in 2001 when, aged 49, he was involved in a fatal crash at the Daytona 500 and later died after a suffering a basilar skull fracture.
And Ricciardo, currently eighth in the F1 drivers’ championship, will not have the chance to pay homage to his great career this weekend.