Daniel Ricciardo lives childhood dream by making laps in Dale Earnhardt’s classic No. 3

Daniel Ricciardo Dale Earnhardt
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

AUSTIN, Texas — With the engine rumbling and the tires smoking, Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo lived his childhood dream at Circuit of the Americas, where he was gifted a joy ride in a car driven by late NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt.

Ricciardo got behind the wheel of the 1984 No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet Monte Carlo ahead of Saturday’s activities at the U.S. Grand Prix. The Australian is an unabashed fan of Earnhardt, who won seven championships in the Cup Series and was a first-ballot selection to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The Saturday morning drive around the Austin, Texas, road course – he turned a few laps and even spun some donuts – was a reward from McLaren boss Zak Brown for Ricciardo winning his first Formula One race with the team earlier this season. The car is the original and now part of Brown’s collection.

Ricciardo, who has long called Earnhardt one of his racing heroes, is wearing a special black and silver helmet this week that pays tribute to Earnhardt. It includes Earnhardt’s No. 3 and Ricciardo’s nickname “The Honey Badger” in the style of Earnhardt’s “The Intimidator” persona.

“He’s a big hero of mine, so to be able to drive one of his cars is going to be a surreal moment and a bit of a dream come true,” Ricciardo said earlier in the week.

Dirty Mo Media, the production company owned by Earnhardt’s son, has been desperately trying to schedule Ricciardo for the “Dale Jr. Download,” Earnhardt Jr.’s popular televised podcast, while Ricciardo is in North America.

“I’m happy for Daniel,” Earnhardt Jr. tweeted. “I’m also appreciative for how he celebrates my father. That makes a lot of dads family members and fans smile.”

Formula One will hold the United States Grand Prix for the first time in nearly two years Sunday with points leader Max Verstappen on the pole position.

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’


The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.