The internet has made it easy for people to get information quickly, but sometimes too quickly or unchecked.
Last Thursday, a Pennsylvania dealer selling, a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, advertised it as once being owned by the famous NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. Shortly after the ZR1 was posted, a tweet from Earnhardt himself said “buyer beware” and “Not my car. Never drove it. Never did it once spend a minute in my driveway.”
As soon as people read Earnhart Jr.’s tweet, and before the dealer could respond, the internet went crazy. The dealer was flooded with $1 offers, angry phone calls, and even death threats (we love our Corvette’s, but death threats is a bit over the top). eBay also got thousands of people flagging the listing as false, so eBay removed the listing and suspended the dealers account (pulling all the other cars they had listed in the process).
Once the dealer had a second to respond, we found out that the dealership bought the Corvette from a Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona last January. The car was listed as being “custom-ordered by Rick Hendrick for Dale Earnhardt Jr.” and notes it was “used as a demonstrator by the NASCAR driver.” When buying the ZR1, the dealer met with Rick Hendrick himself and was told that Hendrick had ordered matching Corvettes for all four of his drivers in 2008 and Earnhardt had driven it for promotional appearances. On top of this, Earnhardt personally gave them the autographed center console, which had been removed for him to sign just before the auction.
So why did Earnhardt tweet that it was never his, or that he never drove it? Earnhardt’s people have not commented since the tweet, so we don’t know. We have been told that Hendrick’s assistant has reached out to the dealer and apologized. I doubt the people that gave death threats are going to apologize.