About five years ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a promise to himself.
After years of tracing his family’s genealogy, when he turned 40, he would travel to Germany and explore the country and town that the Earnhardt family originated from in 1744, he told USA Today.
“I started about five years ago, to track my genealogy,” Earnhardt said in this week’s episode of The Dale Jr. Download. “(It) started as just a little curiosity about what my great grandfather’s name was, who he was, what he was like. I wanted to know more about Ralph (Earnhardt’s) dad.”
Earnhardt is now in the process of fulfilling that promise. With the Sprint Cup Series in a bye-week, the 12-time most popular driver landed in Germany yesterday with girlfriend Amy Reimann, sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller and brother-in-law L.W. Miller. German native Martin Friedrich, who is head of information technology at JR Motorsports, is serving as their guide.
“I know the exact town that my family lived in,” Earnhardt said. “We’re going there to check out the church, drink some beer and just take it easy.”
Earnhardt said he’s not the type to visit museums or landmarks and his goal is to “collapse” into the culture of the town.