NASCAR fan turns a Tesla into a Dale Earnhardt homage

Jerry Bonkowski
NBC Sports

NASCAR has made no secret that it would like to attract additional manufacturers to join Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota on the race track.

That being said, how about a Tesla?

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One Charlotte-area resident – who also happens to be a big NASCAR fan – loves his Tesla Model 3 so much that he went out and created a kind of Dale déjà vu as an homage to NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.

Dylan Sinnott wanted to have something that would be eye-catching whenever the 27-year-old drove out of his garage near Charlotte Motor Speedway and onto the streets of NASCAR country.

Borrowing from the business plans of NASCAR teams as well as his own marketing self-initiative, Sinnott went out and attracted enough sponsors to help him buy the Tesla 3 – which came in just under $75,000 – and then proceeded to add the badging and sponsor logos to create the one-of-a-kind Earnhardt-mobile that Sinnott calls, naturally enough, “Model 3 for Dale.”

And it didn’t cost Sinnott a penny. The entire car was paid for by the sponsorship.

“I thought, ‘I could probably get the car for free if I get enough sponsors, if I do it NASCAR style,’ ” Sinnott told Jalopnik.com. “On [Dale Sr.’s] car back in the day, he would have anywhere from 20 to 40 sponsors, and realistically I could probably get it.”

He continued, “When I think of NASCAR I think of loud, obnoxious, and fast-ass cars, but then when I think of Tesla, I think they’re the exact opposite of being ‘Intimidating,’ which is kind of funny.

“But when I mocked it up it looked cool. I think it’s something NASCAR would find cool, and that Tesla would find cool. I think it also bridges the gap between those two audiences.”


It took Sinnott almost a year to secure all the sponsorship. He picked up the car a month ago on, fittingly enough, December 3, took it in for painting and badging and hit the streets Dec. 19. He’s already put over 1,000 miles on it, according to Jalopnik.com, and has seen the car live up to its billing of going from 0-to-60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

Sinnott is currently working with NASCAR to potentially bring his unique ride next month to the Daytona 500.

One place that didn’t initially like the idea of Sinnott’s car was automobile and motorsports enthusiast site Motor1.com, but it has quickly grown on the site – just like it will likely grow on at least some Earnhardt fans.

“When we first saw these images, we so wanted to mercilessly pounce on this creation, not because we’re Dale devotees per se, but because it’s just dumb,” Motor1.com wrote. “And yet, here’s the thing. It’s not dumb. It’s actually freaking epic.

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