He has his father’s name but not his driving style. So who does Dale Earnhardt Jr. compare his driving style to?
He discussed that and more in an appearance Tuesday morning on “The Dan Patrick Show” on NBCSN.
Patrick asked Earnhardt if he was conservative by nature as a driver.
“I don’t know that I’m conservative by nature,’’ Earnhardt said. “I feel like I’m more of a thinker. As far as a race car driver, I feel like I’m a smart driver. Dad was real aggressive. Dad had that intimidating style and nickname and he lived up to that persona. That was him every day and how he raced on the track. He was never the kind of guy who outthought everybody and was the clever guy or sly guy. He was just aggressive, running hard and pushing and shoving.
“I’m a little bit more like maybe Darrell Waltrip or David Pearson or some of those guys that were a little bit smoother in thinking about the decisions they’re making and trying to be smart and clever about what is happening on the race track and knowing when to sort of pick their battles.
“Another thing, too, is you can only be so aggressive, depending on the car. If you’re not fast, there’s no reason to be pushing and shoving everybody out of the way because they’re just going to run over you. It’s easy to be aggressive when you can get away from them after you run over people. If your car is not good enough to get away from them, no need to be shoving them around because they’re just going to run you back over.’’
Patrick also asked Earnhardt about why Sunday’s victory at Talladega Superspeedway made him emotional.
“I don’t really get too bothered or let myself get too affected by certain milestones like my dad’s birthday (last week) or the day he passed or certain things like that or milestones or moments in his life,’’ Earnhardt said. “Those kind of come and go for me and they have for the last several years. Ever since I joined Twitter, it’s allowed me to see certain things that you’re just not placed in front of on a consistent basis.
“When dad’s birthday came, I was seeing all these people talking about him on Twitter. A lot of the things I saw were from friends in the industry and his peers. The one thing I always worried about when he died is that the older I got and the further we got away from that time, the more people might sort of forget or his impact on the sport would get a little bit more and more diluted or lessened or less recognized.
“So I was kind of worried about that because I was so proud of him and what he was able to do. One of the coolest things is just to hear people talk about that. When I was seeing all that stuff on Twitter for his birthday, all these people were acknowledging him, saying what a great impact he was and how important he was on the sport and for them personally, that made me feel pretty good. I had all that stuff kind of bottled up.’’
Patrick also asked if Earnhardt was engaged yet, continuing their discussion the last time Earnhardt appeared on the show.
“Not yet,” Earnhardt said. “We’re going in that right direction. It’s going great.”