One of the hottest rivalries was the Intimidator vs. Geoff Bodine in the mid '80s,
highlighted by the "Pass in the Grass" that allowed Earnhardt to defeat Bodine and Bill Elliott in the 1987 Winston all-star race. The movie "Days of Thunder" - which includes a re-creation of the dinner date with France - was loosely based on the rivalry between the two drivers.
They wrecked each other so often that they literally caused the invention
of NASCAR's "penalty box," where drivers still can be parked for
several laps during a race for rough driving.
Once, Earnhardt told Bodine's car owner of the time, Rick Hendrick,
"Your boy has [expletived] with me four times, and he's lost four times.
When do you reckon he's gonna get the message?"
NASCAR's founder invited feuding drivers Dale Earnhardt and Geoff Bodine out for dinner and gave them a lecture for dessert. The sport had become too big for the bumping and banging of the old days, France said.