Jordan Taylor will wear Dale Earnhardt tribute helmet during the 24 Hours of Le Mans


When he straps on his helmet for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jordan Taylor will be thinking of Dale Earnhardt – just as he does heading into the Rolex 24 at Daytona every year.

The co-driver of the No. 3 Corvette has heard the legendary stories for a decade from veterans Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim about “The Intimidator’s” lone start in the 2001 Rolex 24, and one tale (even if it might be apocryphal) is his favorite.

When the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion whipped his yellow Corvette Racing GT around the high banks of Daytona International Speedway, Earnhardt somehow managed to illuminate the rev limiter on the car’s dashboard while running alone – a feat that his highly accomplished teammates could achieve only by drafting off the slipstream of another car.

It was an affirmation of Earnhardt’s uncanny ability to harness Daytona’s finicky aerodynamics whether he was manhandling through a pack of stock cars or gracefully navigating a racing line with the precision of a sleek sports car.

“He was doing something around the oval that us road course guys just didn’t know,” Taylor told NBC Sports with a sense of wonder. “The first time I heard it in 2011, I thought it was the craziest thing.

“There are still those myths inside our team that he was doing something around turns 3 and 4 and into the trioval that set him apart. He only did one race with the team, and they still talk about it to this day. I can respect what kind of man he was to keep that legacy. I think about it every single year when I go to Daytona.”

(Jamey Price)

When the three-time Rolex 24 winner (including overall titles in 2017 and ’19) hops a Wednesday flight to France, he will be thinking again of Earnhardt – and ensuring “The Man in Black” also is remembered by everyone watching one of the biggest races in the world.

Taylor, 30, will race the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a black replica helmet with the logos of GM Racing, Chevrolet, Goodwrench Service Plus and Snap-on branding that became synonymous with Earnhardt and his famous No. 3 Chevy.

“He’s ‘The Intimidator,’ and I honestly feel a little bit intimidated to wear it,” Taylor said with a laugh. “Because it is his look. It’s who he is. It’s what everyone knew when they looked at the TV. He had an open-faced helmet, so you could see who he was, but I think even if you saw the back quarter of the helmet with just these logos, you knew it was Dale Sr. and ‘The Intimidator.’

“I’m really looking forward to it. I know the NASCAR community will love to see it come back, and I know the sports car racing community, especially in France, they’re a really motorsports-driven community, and I know they’ll love it.”

Jordan Taylor kneels beside the No. 3 Corvette with his Dale Earnhardt tribute helmet (Jamey Price).

The design, which also will include a stylized No. 3 on the front and back, will blend with Taylor’s regular helmet (which features a “J” with stars). It was created by Savage Designs of Melbourne, Florida, and owner Mike Savage “probably painted the helmet three or four times to get it how we wanted it,” Taylor said. “I think it came out really well. The few people I’ve shown it to in person have loved it, so I think the people in France will really respond to it well.”

Because he wanted the logos to reflect their 1990s origins, Taylor cleared the helmet with GM Racing and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was the first person texted by Taylor when the project began two months ago.

Earnhardt Jr. immediately replied “This is gonna be awesome” and offered help to ensure the helmet’s historical accuracy and legitimacy.

Earnhardt Le Mans helmet
(Jamey Price)

“He was obviously the first guy I asked to make sure he was OK with me doing the helmet, and he was super excited,” Taylor said of Earnhardt Jr. “Which was really cool. He’s a busy guy and has a lot more important things to do. So it was nice he spent all the time. I texted (an image) during one of the broadcasts, and he texted me back during a commercial break to say, ‘Yeah, this looks accurate. It looks good!’ I really appreciated that.”

The 2001 Rolex 24 was one of Earnhardt’s last races before he was killed two weeks later in a last-lap crash at the Daytona 500. Earnhardt Jr. co-drove in the 2001 Rolex 24 with his father and has kept a street model replica of the 2001 No. 3 Corvette (his father was due a matching version).

“This is a bit of a symbolic piece for me,” Earnhardt Jr. said during a 2019 episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast. “Something that we did together at the end of his life. I only have a handful of cars to my name, and there’s only one or two that I will never ever get rid of, and this is one of them. I’ll always have this. … It means more to me now than I ever thought it would. When we decided to have these cars made, I didn’t know Dad was going to be taken from us just a short time later.”

Earnhardt Le Mans helmet
(Jamey Price)
Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins pose before the 2001 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (Jon Ferrey /Allsport).


Taylor, who has watched videos of the Earnhardts’ interviews from the 2001 Rolex 24, can relate to the family bonds as the son of the team owner for three of the past four Rolex 24 victories. Jordan and Wayne Taylor raced together once in the Rolex 24 in 2014.

“That was my only chance to drive with my dad,” Jordan Taylor said. “I think the 2001 Rolex was (Earnhardt Jr.’s) only chance to be his dad’s teammate. Watching all the old footage and seeing Dale Jr. racing at the same time is really cool to see they were racing against each other. It’s something I didn’t get to do as a driver, but I think it was really special to be a driver’s son and talk back and forth with Dale Jr. about what it’s like.”

The Earnhardt helmet tribute for Le Mans also is special because the No. 3 C8.R Corvette also won the GTLM class of this year’s Rolex 24 with Taylor and co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Nicky Catsburg.

“The pass that won us the race was a side draft and get to the lead into the trioval, so it was kind of a NASCAR-style win,” Taylor said. “We are in the 3 car, it’s a Corvette, and it’s Daytona. It was (Earnhardt’s) playground. I think anytime we have those sorts of moments, you think of that history and what he was able to do.”

The No. 3 Corvette GTS that finished second in class and fourth overall at the 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona (Jonathan Ferrey/ALLSPORT).

Taylor is expecting the same appreciation for his Earnhardt helmet in France from the Le Mans fans, who enthusiastically greeted his 2012 debut.

“I was a 21-year old American driver who hadn’t done much in his career, and tons of people knew who I was and had pictures printed out of me from go-karts,” said Taylor, who will be making his seventh 24 Hours of Le Mans start in the Aug. 21-22 race. “Things I’d never see at an American racetrack. Their heritage and lineage to American motorsport is really special and deep. Not just sports car racing and Formula One, they follow NASCAR and motorsport as a whole.

Earnhardt Le Mans helmet
Jordan Taylor holds his Dale Earnhardt tribute helmet that he will race with at Le Mans (Jamey Price).

“An icon like a Dale Sr. that really changed the sport as a whole, everyone is going to know about. When they see the helmet, they’ll understand, especially when they associate it with the No. 3 and a Corvette. They’ll know the whole package.”

They also will witness a ceremonial closing of the loop in Earnhardt’s illustrious Hall of Fame career. Corvette Racing had mapped out the logistical framework for having Earnhardt race at Le Mans. “Going to Le Mans was going to be like the pinnacle for (Earnhardt),” former program manager Doug Fehan told NBC Sports in 2019. “It was his dream.”

Earnhardt Jr. has said he is “absolutely 100 percent sure” his father would have raced in the 24-hour sports car classic, meaning Taylor symbolically will be carrying the torch to the finish for an auto racing icon with the “Imitator of ‘The Intimidator’ ” helmet.

“It’s kind of scary to think of that way,” Taylor said. “At the same time, I’m very honored to take a piece of his helmet and design, and hopefully we can do him proud and do Dale Jr. proud as well. His dad wasn’t able to go there in person, but I’m sure he was going to at some point in his career.

“I’m proud to be able to carry on that legacy to the finish line at Le Mans.”

Earnhardt Le Mans helmet
Jordan Taylor strikes a Dale Earnhardt-style pose while wearing his No. 3 tribute helmet (Jamey Price).

IndyCar at Texas: How to watch, start times, TV info and live streaming, schedule


The NTT IndyCar Series will head to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for its first oval race of the season and a preview of its biggest race.

After Sunday’s PPG 375 at Texas, the next oval on the schedule is May 28 with the 107th running of the Indy 500. Chip Ganassi Racing dominated last year’s 500-miler at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after placing all four of its Dallara-Hondas in the top 10 at Texas.

The Dallara-Chevrolets of Team Penske also will be heavy favorites at Texas. Josef Newgarden passed teammate Scott McLaughlin on the final lap for the victory last year as Penske took three of the top four (with defending series champion Will Power in fourth).

Texas marks the first of five oval races for IndyCar, which also will visit Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. There are 28 drivers entered for the 36th IndyCar race at Texas, the series’ most at the track since 30 in June 2011.

Scott Dixon has a series-high five victories at Texas, mostly recently in May 2021. Helio Castroneves (four wins), Newgarden (two) and Power (two) also are multiple winners at Texas.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the PPG 375 race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, noon ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe (whose first career IndyCar victory came at St. Petersburg 10 years ago).

Marty Snider and Dave Burns are the pit reporters. Telemundo Deportes on Universo will provide a Spanish-language telecast. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying and Indy NXT races. (Click here for information on how to sign up for Peacock.)


GREEN FLAG: 12:15 p.m. ET

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after the race ends.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for practices and qualifying.

INDYCAR RADIO NETWORK: The IndyCar and Indy Lights races and all practices and qualifying sessions will air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, and the IndyCar app.

PRACTICE: Saturday sessions at 9 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. (Peacock Premium), 1:45 p.m.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 12:15 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the grid at Texas

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 250 laps (375 miles) on a 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Eleven primary sets to be used during practice, qualifying and the race. An extra set will be available to cars in the high-line practice session.

FORECAST: According to, it’s expected to be 67 degrees with a 71% chance of rain at the green flag.

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 28 cars entered


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, March 31

11 a.m.: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage opens

1 p.m.: IndyCar garage opens

3-7 p.m.: IndyCar technical inspection

5 p.m.: IndyCar drivers, team managers meeting

Saturday, April 1

6 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

8 a.m.: Truck garage opens

9-9:10 a.m.: IndyCar two-stage pit speed limiter practice

9:10-10 a.m.: IndyCar practice (Peacock Premium)

10:30-noon a.m.: Truck practice

12:15-1:15 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying (Peacock Premium)

1:45-2:15 p.m.: IndyCar high-line practice, two groups for 15 minutes apiece (Peacock Premium)

2:30-3:30 p.m.: IndyCar final practice (Peacock Premium)

4:30 p.m.: Truck race (147 laps, 220.5 miles)

Sunday, April 2

7:30 a.m.: IndyCar garage, technical inspection open

11:30 a.m.: Driver introductions

Noon: PPG 375 at Texas (NBC)


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