DALE EARNHARDT JR. SONG NEW 88

Glenn Jones loves Dale Earnhardt Jr. so much he wrote a song about him. Jones is not a musician in Nashville, New York or Los Angeles. He’s a 69-year-old mechanic from Carrollton, Miss. Nonetheless, his song about NASCAR’s most popular driver is starting to attract attention on iTunes.

I talked to Jones about the song, which is entitled “New 88.” It recounts the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr., the rise of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the younger Earnhardt’s fiery Le Mans practice crash in Sonoma in 2004. From his auto repair garage in Greenwood, Miss., Jones said, “After his daddy got killed, me and my family fell in love with Junior.”

The song, which was rejected by a number of Nashville singers, was recorded by Ray Steele, a Nashville unknown whom Jones says plays “local juke joints and bars.”

Jones, a clean-living guy who writes hard-drinking songs, has been writing for years. Although New 88 celebrates his favorite driver, Jones doesn’t apologize for its somber tone. “If a song don’t make you laugh or don’t make you cry, it ain’t no good,” he said. The lyrics came to the mechanic while he was driving in Hattiesburg, Miss. Jones pulled his car over and started writing. The song originally was called "Red No. 8," but when Earnhardt jumped to Hendrick Motorsports and changed his number from 8 to 88, Jones changed the lyrics.

The song is available by searching for “New 88” on iTunes ($0.99) and at amazon.com. You can listen to a sample of the song on both sites.

The lyrics to New 88:

Down in Daytona
The last lap of the race
We lost a living legend
That will never be replaced
Come another Sunday
In 2001
The whole world cried
When Junior won

The crowd was standing
On their feet
Proud of number eight
But remembering number three

Yes, he was our hero
No one can debate
Now we live for NASCAR
And that new 88

From Charlotte to the west coast
And all in-between
Millions are watching
On their TV screens
Cars are roaring
We don’t know their fate
There’s someone riding with you
In that new 88

Another day of racing
The fans won’t forget
Junior was driving
A hot corvette

The flames were rolling
All around his head
Would lightning strike twice?
Was our hero dead?

Then someone pulled him out
Of the flames right away
He don’t know his name
Until this very day

But there is one thing
The fans will agree
His uniform was white
And his number was three

From Charlotte to the west coast
And all in-between
Millions are watching
On their TV screens
Cars are roaring
We don’t know their fate
There’s someone riding with you
In that new 88

We’re all riding with you in that new Chevrolet

 


Jones, above, wrote New 88. Tip of the hat to the Greenwood Commonwealth (registration required) for originally reporting on this story.