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Yacht owner keeps NASCAR driver’s spirit alive

Typically, when a yacht changes hands, the yacht gets renamed. Not so with M/Y Sunday Money, a custom 2001 100-foot Hatteras on display in the show this week. The current owner kept the name to “maintain the spirit of the yacht,” said Sean Johnston, mate/engineer.

Spirit may be an appropriate word as the yacht was built by Dale Earnhardt, the seasoned NASCAR race car driver who passed away in 2001.

And contrary to local lore, it is not — and never was — owned by his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt’s wife, Teresa Earnhardt, owned it after his death.

With some experience in smaller scale race cars and yachts himself, the current owner approached M/Y Sunday Money as a piece of history and has opted to retain it as best he could. Original Fiddleback Makore woodwork adorns the interior, as does Earnhardt’s custom compass rose design found in the flooring and several window etches.

The feel of the track is even evident with the semi-oval granite dinette, a nod to some of the famous NASCAR short tracks.

Several upgrades were incorporated in 2012 including wing control stations, stabilizers and enclosing the flybridge deck with canvas for all-season cruising.

“It’s an awesome sea boat, like a tank,” Johnston said. M/Y Sunday Money recently cruised throughout the Bahamas all the way to the out islands, as well as through the northeast U.S.

This is not the only yacht owned or once owned by a NASCAR driver or team owner. Driver Jeff Gordon owns the 106-foot Lazzara M/Y 24 Karat; team owner Rick Hendricks has had several yachts and sportfishers, including the 164-foot Trinity M/Y Wheels; and Trinity Yachts chairman Felix Sabates also is a NASCAR team owner.

Johnston did add that the owner keeps NASCAR trinkets onboard M/Y Sunday Money as well as a few mats with the famous No. 3 car (Earnhardt’s car) as a token to the history.

Named for the day when NASCAR drivers win their prizes, M/Y Sunday Money is docked this Sunday at the show. Walk by her; you just may feel the spirit.

Tom Serio is a contributor to Triton Today; editorial@the-triton.com.

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