Daniel Ricciardo will land drive in Dale Earnhardt car with next Formula 1 podium

Ricciardo Earnhardt Formula 1
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When Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo scores his next podium finish, it will be worth a ride in one of auto racing’s most recognizable cars that once belonged to Dale Earnhardt as McLaren CEO Zak Brown has challenged his new driver with a unique incentive.

“Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s 1984 Wrangler Chevrolet Monte Carlo,” Brown tweeted on Wednesday. “Get us that podium and the drive is all yours, Daniel Ricciardo.”

Brown is a historic racing aficionado.

Ricciardo is a huge fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr., which is one of the reasons he has used the No. 3 on his Formula 1 car since joining Red Bull in 2014.

Last year, Ricciardo bet Renault owner Cyril Abiteboul that he would expect his boss to get a new tattoo if Ricciardo scored a podium. The Australian driver did so twice – at Nurburging on October 11 in the Eifel Grand Prix and two races later at Imola in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Ricciardo finished third in both races.

“I know (Brown has) got a pretty good car collection, so maybe we could just bet one of his cars or something,” Ricciardo said.

Brown and McLaren answered in the affirmative.

Winning the bet could set the driver on a new path.

Ricciardo has said he would consider a career in NASCAR once his Formula 1 days are behind him, so a ride in Earnhardt’s car may further fuel that passion.

And that podium finish could come quickly. Imola, the site of one of his two 2020 podiums, is next on the Formula 1 schedule on April 18.

Ricciardo is competing in his 11th Formula 1 season with his fifth team.

During his career, he has earned seven wins and 31 podiums. After scoring his first podium in 2014 – the year he switched to Earnhardt’s number in homage to the NASCAR star – he has failed to finish in the top three in only one season. In his first year with Renault, he scored a best finish of fourth at Monza in 2019.

Ricciardo opening salvo for 2021 in the Bahrain Grand Prix netted a seventh-place finish behind winner Lewis Hamilton. McLaren teammate Lando Norris finished fourth – one position off the podium.