ThatsRacin

Jimmy Fallon challenged Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a race on ‘Tonight Show.’ Big mistake.

Jimmy Fallon should have thought twice before challenging retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a “cooler scooter’’ race on “The Tonight Show” late Wednesday. He lost big. Screen grab of online video from “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
Jimmy Fallon should have thought twice before challenging retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a “cooler scooter’’ race on “The Tonight Show” late Wednesday. He lost big. Screen grab of online video from “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

Jimmy Fallon should have thought twice before challenging retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a "cooler scooter'' race on "The Tonight Show" late Wednesday.

Earnhardt dominated from start to finish, leaving Fallon eating crow.

"Some races are really close, and some you just dominate," Earnhardt later told Fallon to laughter from the audience.

"You crushed me," Fallon told Earnhardt before shaking his hand immediately after the blow-out race.

Earnhardt appeared on the show in advance of his debut in the NBC Sports broadcast booth for Sunday's NASCAR race at Chicagoland Speedway.

The show's Facebook video of the race drew 366,000 views by Thursday afternoon.

Fallon set the stage for "The Tonight Show" race by telling the audience that he'd invited Earnhardt to race him, but hadn't heard back. The camera then panned to Earnhardt standing nearby with a helmet on.

The race was no contest, as Earnhardt pulled ahead at the start and passed a shirtless "barbecue man" and other obstacles before plowing through beach balls near the finish line, far ahead of Fallon.

When Fallon later asked him for racing advice, Earnhardt replied: "Well, I think you should practice, man."

"Your cooler was full of beer," Earnhardt added in a mock attempt to excuse Fallon's performance.

"Also, I drank six beers before the race," Fallon said, drawing more laughter from the audience.

In a sit-down interview later on the show, Earnhardt recalled the day his wife Amy's water broke.

"I thought it was going to be this terrifying thrill ride to the hospital," Earnhardt told Fallon.

But it was much later, after his wife saw a doctor, that Amy Earnhardt gave birth to their first child, Isla Rose Earnhardt, he said.

"She pushes for an hour, and we have our baby," Earnhardt told Fallon of Isla Rose's May 1 birth.

Earnhardt also recalled the fun he had filming a video with Jay-Z in Monaco last year and how the ceiling of a restaurant there suddenly opened to the sky when Beyoncé and Jay-Z entered. The restaurant’s staff immediately closed the ceiling back up, and everyone resumed dining.

Earnhardt also told Fallon how jittery he's felt as he embarks on his broadcasting career.

"Are you nervous?" Fallon asked.

"Oh, yeah," Earnhardt replied. "Driving cars was easy. I have no background in this. They said, 'Be yourself.'

In the end, Earnhardt said, his time in the booth is "going to be a blast."

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak.
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