‘Pawn Stars’: Why NASCAR Fans Got Upset About Dale Earnhardt Memorabilia Scene

by Allison Hambrick
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: (L-R) Corey Harrison, Rick Harrison and Austin "Chumlee" Russell of Pawn Stars attend the A+E Networks 2012 Upfront at Lincoln Center on May 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Pawn Stars is usually right on the money, but one mistake on behalf of the production team has NASCAR fans fuming. In a recent episode, Pawn Stars featured a racing suit belonging to late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Regarded as the best racer of all time, it isn’t a surprise for his memorabilia to make it on the show. What is surprising, however, is the error the show made about Earnhardt’s history.

Normally, Pawn Stars includes pop-ups that contain all of the useful nuggets of information about something for sale. Unfortunately, someone on the “Pawn Stars” team flubbed an important fact. The information behind the suit read: “Born in 1951, Earnhardt was killed instantly in a collision during the final lap of the 2001 Indy 500.”

For those who don’t know, Earnhardt died in a collision during the Daytona 500. This is a completely different race in a completely different location than the Indy 500. Naturally, fans of Earnhardt found this error hard to forgive. A number of fans took to Twitter to criticize the “disrespectful” mistake.

“Y’all need to learn your d— history!” tweeted one user. “Whoever wrote this ‘fact’ apparently is an idiot. The Indy 500 is for [IndyCar] and the Daytona 500 is for NASCAR. Get your s— straight or don’t call yourself the History channel.”

Others called for the editor responsible for the “travesty” to be fired. While that may be harsh, the mistake is highly embarrassing. Pawn Stars airs on the History Channel, after all.

So How Did Pawn Stars Value the Suit?

The owner of the suit initially sought $100,000 for it. The shadow box containing the suit had a number of autographs. These included Earnhardt himself, Delbert McClinton, Neil Bonnett, and Teresa Earnhardt. Though the suit was authentic, the price was too high.

After confirming it was a 1993 suit from the Coca-Cola 600, Pawn Stars tapped one of its experts. Steve Grad, the Principal Authenticator at Becket Authentication Services, valued the suit at $20,000. The lowest the suit’s owner was willing to go was $85,000, so it was a no-deal.

Pawn Stars can be hit or miss. What seems like a rare find could be worthless, while something mundane could be worth a fortune. A recent example of this was when a customer brought in, of all things, dinosaur eggs. After they were authenticated, the owner sought $20,000. Since the value was actually $800, he went home disappointed, but with a fuller wallet nonetheless.

Another time, a customer brought in a photo of the Enola Gay, signed by pilot Paul Tibbets. While he sought $1,500, he only saw a tenth of that price after an expert identified the signature as being from later in the pilot’s life. The moral of Pawn Stars: you win some, you lose some.