Former NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a guest on Danica Patrick’s most recent Pretty Intense podcast episode this week, and as two legends who transcended NASCAR into the general sports world industry.
The majority of the interview revolved around Junior’s complicated relationship with his dad Dale Earnhardt Sr., who was in a fatal accident on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
Earnhardt Jr. shared a story which he described as “the most important moment in my life with my dad.”
He said it was an unplanned exchange with his father that he feels “very lucky” to have had, especially since it happened within a year before Dale Sr.’s tragic death.
“One night, for some reason, I sat down by myself, and I wrote this sort of essay about Dad and what he meant to me,” Dale Jr. said on Danica’s Pretty Intense podcast. “And it took me no time at all to write this, and it just poured out with so much ease. And I was extremely proud of it.”
Dale Jr. said he is not sure exactly when this happened but figured it was a few months before his father Dale Sr. died. He stated:
And so I was like, ‘I’m gonna take this, and I’m gonna publish it in this thing. And everybody’s gonna read it, and everybody’s gonna know how I feel about my dad.’ But I was scared to do it without asking him. You don’t do anything about Dad, with Dad, with the use of his name or anything without going to him and saying, ‘Hey, is this OK?’
“So I asked him if I could see him for a second. He’s up in his office at [Dale Earnhardt, Inc.]. I go up there with that piece of paper, and I said, ‘Hey, I got this thing I wrote, and it’s about you. I want to put it in the Winston Cup Scene in a couple weeks, and I just need to make sure you’re OK with it.’
“And he takes it, and he reads it, and he stands up, and he starts walking around reading it. And it’s only, you know, about a page. And he stops at the end, and he takes a minute. And he says, ‘You know, we never tell each other how we feel about each other, but in reading this, I know exactly how you feel.’
“And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I was like, ‘Man, that’s exactly how I feel about you, and I didn’t know you didn’t know that — you know, that I thought you were this great, amazing thing.’
“And he was like, ‘I’m so glad you did this. I’m so glad you shared this with me.’ He doesn’t talk this way.”
Earnhardt claims he was writing a column for a popular racing magazine called the Winston Cup Scene due to his loves for writing, express himself and share his side of stories.