Earnhardt's missing mustache explained in #TBT

June 26, 2014, Pat DeCola, NASCAR.com

Dale Earnhardt without facial hair? What's the deal with that?

Dale Earnhardt's mustache. 

As much a trademark of The Intimidator as the italicized '3' saddled on the side of his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, Earnhardt's 'stache took a mysterious vacation back in 1999 and thanks to RCR's #TBT entry this week, we now know why.

Here's a shot of a clean-shaven Earnhardt signing for fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

If it weren't for the classic firesuit and checkered flag hat he's wearing, Earnhardt would be next to unrecognizable.

So what's the story? Why would Earnhardt decide to commit such a facial travesty?

Snorkeling, my friends. Snorkeling.

Well, there you have it. Earnhardt's long-time PR rep J.R. Rhodes clued us all in that the seven-time champion was snorkeling with his youngest child, Taylor, in the Bahamas and the whiskers were just in the way. Who knew?

And in case you were wondering, any extra aerodynamic help his smooth upper lip created wasn't super beneficial in the race. He finished 10th in the sixth running of the Brickyard 400.

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