The top drivers in Formula One are at Circuit of the Americas in Texas for the United States Grand Prix 2021. Daniel Ricciardo is using the trip as an opportunity to showcase an incredible Dale Earnhardt tribute helmet, which features the color scheme of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet.
McLaren posted an assortment of photos of the helmet on Friday, October 22, providing some up-close looks at the NASCAR-themed lid. The front features Ricciardo’s signature and the No. 3 in the same spot where Earnhardt had his name and number. The crown of the helmet has the No. 3 in white with a red outline. The back of the helmet features the text “The Honey Badger” in the middle of a lightning strike.
Ricciardo will don the helmet and climb into the No. 3 entry for a packed weekend in Texas. He will take part in three practice sessions at COTA — two on Friday, October 22, and one on Saturday. He will then qualify during an October 23 session. The United States Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, October 24, at 2 p.m. ET. ESPN will provide coverage for the race.
Ricciardo Will Get His Hands on 1 of Earnhardt’s Cars
The helmet will not be the only way in which Ricciardo will showcase his appreciation of the late NASCAR driver during the F1 weekend. He will also get some seat time in Earnhardt’s 1984 Wrangler Chevrolet Monte Carlo after winning a bet.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown made a wager with Ricciardo involving the classic stock car, promising seat time if the Australian driver performed at a certain level. “Dale Earnhardt Sr’s 1984 Wrangler Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Get us that podium and the drive is all yours,” Brown said, per the F1 website.
Ricciardo did more than simply secure a podium spot. He delivered the first F1 win for McLaren since 2012 with a win in the Italian Grand Prix on September 12. Teammate Lando Norris finished second in the race, capping off a special day for the race team.
“Yeah, there’s like a couple of things today, like… Dale Earnhardt — big hero of mine — and to have a chance to get behind the wheel of one of his cars is crazy. That will certainly be a ‘pinch me’ moment,” Ricciardo said after his win, per the F1 website.
Ricciardo Has Embraced His Inner Texan While in Austin
The Australian F1 driver has fully embraced the trip to America for the United States Grand Prix 2021. He has channeled his inner Texan and adopted an American accent during interviews. He also said “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity” multiple times, a phrase frequently shouted by Hall of Fame NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip.
However, Ricciardo did not stop with his accent. He also showed up to COTA dressed for the trip. He donned a pair of cowboy boots, a western shirt with bucking bronco graphics, and a cowboy hat. He walked around the race venue greeting people by saying, “howdy.”
Ricciardo has explained that COTA is his favorite track in the United States and that he also loves Austin as a city. He added during a media availability that it has been “24 long and sad months” without the Texas city in his life. However, he has returned and will use the Grand Prix to showcase his inner NASCAR fandom.