When the Formula 1 drivers were informed that they could choose their own numbers for the 2014 season, many reverted to the number that they had on their go-kart during their junior racing days.
Daniel Ricciardo was no exception, having raced the No. 3 in years past. However, when word broke out that the young Australian had also picked the No. 3 from being an Intimidator fan, none other than NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. soon got to talking to him on Twitter. And, not soon after winning himself at Pocono, Earnhardt Jr. was one of the first to congratulate the young Ricciardo on his maiden F1 win.
The story began in early January, when Ricciardo revealed the reasoning for his number choice:
Reason for #3 is it was my first ever number in karting and I was also a fan of Dale Earnhardt. pic.twitter.com/Z9zBntEewl
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) January 11, 2014
When Dale Earnhardt Jr. picked up his opening win of the season at the 2014 Daytona 500, Ricciardo was quick to congratulate him.
1 word… Junebug well done my man. #bigfan
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) February 24, 2014
Then, however, it was time for both drivers to get down to business, as though NASCAR’s most popular driver ran up front during the opening months of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, a second win continued to elude him. Ricciardo, likewise, was able to score the occasional podium, but the dominance of the new Mercedes W05 Hybrid meant only Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were able to make it to the top step of the podium.
That all changed last Sunday, however, when both Daniel Ricciardo and Dale Earnhardt Jr. made late-race passes, on Nico Rosberg and Brad Keselowski respectively, to both bring home a popular win.
For NASCAR fans, it meant Earnhardt was locked in to the chase for the championship. For Formula 1 fans, it meant that someone had finally stepped in to challenge the Mercedes supremacy.
Earnhardt Jr. was quick to congratulate Ricciardo on his maiden F1 win soon after leaving victory lane.
Congrats to @danielricciardo on his day. Im on cloud 9 Daniel! You around here somewhere too?
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) June 9, 2014
Ricciardo hasn’t responded yet, but we have a pretty good feeling that he is…