That giddy sensation your feeling is a weekend full of great sports, including the kickoff of college football and one of the crown jewels on the NASCAR circuit at Darlington. You know what that means? Yeah, tailgating is about to kick back into high gear in both sports.
Whether you’re heading out to South Carolina for the race this weekend for the Southern 500 or Carter-Finley Stadium for the start of (real) tailgating, you have a party group established. Usually your best friends, classmates or fellow alumni of your school, these are the people you rage with every weekend during the fall.
But what if you could throw down with NASCAR drivers?
That question got us thinking, which eventually gave birth to the list you’ll see below. Do you choose the drivers who can provide free beer? How about the ones who have experience tailgating? Or maybe you just want the cool guy who can bring more ladies to the tailgate.
Sorry in advance to Paul Menard, who we simply weren’t sure could contain himself at a tailgate. So, without further ado, here is Chicken Bone Alley’s collection of the top 10 drivers we’d most like to tailgate with this fall.
10. Brad Keselowski
Who doesn’t like a guy who can bring free beer to the party? With the sponsorship Brad Keselowski has, he might be able to provide kegs of Miller Lite at your tailgate. While he might have some aggression problems—which tend to amplify after drinking—he’s still worthy of being the No. 10 driver on this list.
9. Austin Dillon
Look, I’m comfortable enough in my masculinity to say that Austin Dillon is an attractive dude. He’s one of the cool guys in NASCAR and also has a sneaky good sponsorship with Childress Vineyards. A guy who can provide wine and bring in the ladies? Yeah, Dillon is invited to our tailgate any time.
8. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace
Bubba Wallace is from Mobile, Alabama and loves the Tennessee Volunteers football team. The man breathes SEC football and just turned 21 last October.
For his first full football season where he can legally consume alcohol, who wouldn’t love to have Bubba partying at their tailgate? Who knows, he might show up as Raymond Wiggles at your Darlington tailgate.
7. Jeff Gordon
We have to get Jeff Gordon on the list before he retires, right? The old man might not appear to be a party animal, but he apparently really wants to start tailgating when he retires.
“I always hear everything going on in the infield, but I’m not out there partaking in it,” Gordon said at Michigan. “I get very envious hearing all the screaming and yelling and hooping and hollering and music going on out there, and knowing that I’m in my bus fixing my own dinner and getting ready for bed.”
No reason to feel envious anymore, Jeff. Once you finally retire, few fans would pass up the opportunity to tailgate with the Rainbow Warrior.
6. Kevin Harvick
Budweiser, Bud Lite and Busch Light are staples of any college tailgate. Kevin Harvick can provide the Bud and Busch Light as he’ll be changing sponsors next season. That alone is awesome, but having entertainment from Keelan Harvick on a go-kart riding around the infield or parking lot makes it even more enticing.
5. Regan Smith
Sure, Keselowski and Harvick are bringing beer to the party. But if you want quality craft beer like Oskar Blues, inviting Regan Smith is the way to go.
The JR Motorsports driver has Oskar Blues on board, which means free Dale’s Pale Ale and Pinner Throwback IPA this fall. Oh, and he’s also sponsored by the Taxslayer.com Bowl. So, you know, if you like Jacksonville, FL. in January, you might want to add Smith to your crew.
4. Ty Dillon
Similar to previous drivers, Ty Dillon has the connections you need for a successful tailgate. The man is sponsored by Yuengling—a smooth drinking lager for early fall tailgates *wink, wink*—and knows how to party. We’d love to have Dillon roll up in his No. 3 machine and dance at our tailgate like he did at his wedding last December.
3. Carl Edwards
Nobody, and I mean nooooobody, has a better tailgate trick than Carl Edwards. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver would be the envy of every other tailgate as he backflips off the grill before cooking the pig. He also happens to be the wifey’s favorite driver, so Cousin Carl is invited to my tailgate at any time.
2. Harrison Rhodes
Here in North Carolina, there’s no tailgating experience like being at Carter-Finley Stadium before a Wolfpack game. One driver who knows all about that is Harrison Rhodes, who has been to several tailgates during his tenure at NC State.
Need some proof? Rhodes provided us with a look at his tailgating repertoire for this season.
Not only do we need those cornhole boards and that magnificent GMC truck at our tailgate, but Rhodes is also a fun dude who would make a perfect addition on any given weekend. (Sidenote: Will those boards be produced in mass quantities? No, seriously.)
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Take a poll of a NASCAR infield on any given weekend. Hell, poll nearly any college football parking lot. More than likely, you’ll come away with Dale Earnhardt Jr. being the top option at either location.
The 12-time Most Popular Driver Award winner would make your tailgate the envy of every other party. Let’s not forget that he has the same connections as Smith—he’s the owner of JR Motorsports—and might still have some ties with Budweiser. There’s really no question who we’d love to tailgate with the most with Earnhardt bringing everything to the party.