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story.lead_photo.caption Dale Earnhardt Jr. got a chance to drive his father’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo before his final race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. loves racing history, especially when it combines with honoring his famous father. So he had a big smile on his face when he got to do a little bit of both Friday afternoon.

Earnhardt took a few laps around Talladega Superspeedway in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo that his father raced in his rookie season in 1979 and in some select races during his 1980 Cup championship season.

The track, which operates the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, gave Earnhardt the car as a retirement gift.

"It was pretty neat trying to imagine what it'd be like to be running one of them around at 180, 190 mph," Earnhardt said.

The Alabama 500 on Sunday will be Earnhardt's final race at Talladega, as he will retire from Cup racing after the season. Earnhardt said he had never driven an old car with real history of his father, who died in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

"I love being able to sit in the car just to see the perspective of what the view is like," Earnhardt said. "It's so different than our cars today. No headrest or nothing like that. You kind of see everything. There's a lot of wind moving around. It's pretty crazy."

As far as his final race at Talladega, Earnhardt said he hasn't gotten caught up in those thoughts. He has not had a good season, winless and sitting 22nd in the Cup standings.

"This place has been great to me, and we've got a lot of fans that come see us run here because they see it as a great opportunity for us to run well," Earnhardt said. "I wouldn't call it pressure, but there's motivation to do well and run hard for all the folks that come to see it happen."

He's got moves

Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (Arkansas Razorbacks) has been practicing Irish dancing for over a year, and recently leveraged his fame and talent in a bid to help a bullied 12-year-old boy.

As reported by baltimoreravens.com, Collins' first taste of Irish dancing came in 2011 when he was introduced to it by his high school football coach's daughter, Bryanne Gatewood. When he returned to Baltimore in 2016, Gatewood dared Collins to try Irish dancing. After one session, he fell in love with it.

Collins was recently a source of inspiration for a young 12-year-old boy who was bullied after he took up Irish dancing.

The boy's mother, Joanne Tubbs, reached out to Collins on Twitter and he responded: "Never stop doing the things you love because someone else doesnt agree. chase your dreams Carl and don't let them stop you from being great!."

"Big smile tonight from Carl. Thanks for the encouragement and support -- I think you also have a new no. 1 fan :-)," Tubbs responded.

Collins revealed he also was mocked for his decision to take up lacrosse in high school.

"You can imagine you have your group of friends and they're like, 'You're playing lacrosse!? Nooo.' I'm like, 'Yeah, it's actually a lot of fun. I get to beat people with sticks!' " Collins said.

"People don't want to be the first person. They don't want to be that person that's being made fun of," added Collins. "This little kid, I put myself in his shoes and I just imagined him trying to chase his dreams and people making fun of him, and then him possibly quitting when that could be something that he really pursued in the future."

Sports on 10/14/2017

Print Headline: Dale Jr. rides in dad's old Monte Carlo

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