Mecum Auctions is scheduled to send three of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s NASCAR race cars across the block on Saturday, each with six-figure auction estimates. But the team that ran the cars described, Richard Childress Racing, told Jalopnik Friday night that the listings are “not what they claim to be.”
A spokesperson for the team said all three No. 3 cars described in the listings are in the possession of Richard Childress Racing, and that it’s working to get into contact with Mecum about them. The team didn’t say whether these could be other race cars driven by Earnhardt, and Jalopnik has asked for clarification.
As of this posting, the listings remain on Mecum’s website. Jalopnik has reached out to Mecum for comment on the cars, and has yet to hear back.
Questions about the claimed race cars emerged Friday afternoon when retired Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., Earnhardt Sr.’s son, responded to a Twitter sharing of an earlier story written by Jalopnik about the auction. The headliners of the lot are the three race cars claimed to have been Earnhardt Sr.’s—a 1994 Chevrolet Lumina said to be the one he clinched his seventh Cup Series title in, a 1993 Wheaties-liveried Monte Carlo, and a 1989 Lumina said to have raced at the Watkins Glen and Sonoma road courses. Also in the lot are claimed former pace cars, street cars and two vehicles listed as Earnhardt Jr.’s old No. 8 race cars.
The auction estimate on Earnhardt Sr.’s 1994 race car, as advertised, is between $200,000 and $300,000, while the other two are estimated to sell for between $75,000 and $125,000. The cars claimed to be Earnhardt Jr.’s are each estimated to go for at least $100,000.
Earnhardt Jr’s tweet said “RC,” or team owner Richard Childress, said the cars listed as formerly belonging to his father weren’t legit. Jalopnik has also asked if the legitimacy of the No. 8 cars has been determined yet.
Jalopnik reached out to the team, a representative for Earnhardt Jr. and one for Mecum after the Twitter post, and a spokesperson for Richard Childress Racing said the race team was looking into it at the time. The team got back to Jalopnik to confirm the cars aren’t what the listings claim on Friday night.
Earnhardt Jr.’s rep gave some insight into how the tweet came to be, saying Earnhardt Jr. often sees old race cars listed for sale—usually his—and “takes liberty to verify if the cars are legit or not.” When Earnhardt Jr. saw his father’s cars, the rep said, he sent a photo to Childress and got the tweeted response.
Since listings at a major auction house are usually extensively vetted beforehand, due to the fact that this isn’t Craigslist and they’re being auctioned for what the listing describes them as, Jalopnik asked Mecum whether these cars were fully vetted before being listed. Jalopnik has yet to hear back, but will update if we do.
Update: Friday, March 15, 2019 at 9:19 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for Richard Childress Racing responded to Jalopnik’s request for comment, saying it “looks like they are former RCR show cars” and to check with Mecum for more information.
Update: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 8:56 a.m. ET: Two of the three claimed Dale Earnhardt Sr. cars sold at auction, with the Wheaties car going for $40,700 and the 1989 car going for $44,000.
The claimed championship-clinching 1994 car, which was estimated to auction for between $200,000 and $300,000 based on its listed characteristics, didn’t sell. The high bid, according to the Mecum website, was $190,000.