Dale Earnhardt Jr. shared stories about his father in chats with fans on NBC’s social media platforms Tuesday morning.
Earnhardt took part in a Facebook and Periscope chat for NBC, which returns to broadcasting NASCAR Sprint Cup races with Sunday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt was joined by former crew chief Steve Letarte, now a NASCAR on NBC analyst.
Earnhardt was asked on Periscope about the best advice he’s received and it led to a story about his father.
“People always ask me all the time about what my dad told me about racing, what kind of tips he might have given me,’’ Earnhardt said. “He never gave me any tips. We never talked about racing. We always talked about life, doing better at school or getting my crap together somehow. I was always having to get my crap together. That seemed to be the theme of a lot of our conversations.
“We ended up going to Bristol the first time. That place is super fast. I had no idea what I was doing. In a Cup car with a little more power, I was having a lot of trouble. For the first time – the only time I can ever remember – dad, in the middle of practice, got out of his car and got on the radio and coached me around the racetrack. ‘Lift here. Get on the gas here.’
“It was completely opposite of what I was doing. That little five-minute coaching session really worked at a lot of different racetracks, just the patience that he showed me with what I needed to be doing versus what I had been doing. That’s something I’ll never forget.’’
Earnhardt shared other thoughts about his father in a chat on NASCAR on NBC’s Facebook page:
* His favorite racing memory in NASCAR:
“Running second to dad, IROC race at Michigan.’’
* If he thought about quitting after his father’s death in 2001 Daytona 500:
“I wanted to quit before the next race, but I wondered if I could carry that regret the rest of my life. Glad I chose to carry on.’’
* About when he’ll retire:
“I will retire when it’s not fun anymore and when I can no longer be an asset to a team.’’
* What he would do after retirement:
“I would love to race late models at my local track when I retire from Cup. I miss those days. Lotta fun.’’
* On Cup drivers running in Xfinity races:
“Cup drivers are not taking rides from youngsters. Actually, it brings in sponsors that gives these kids opportunity. I raced Mark Martin in the Busch Series and absolutely loved it.’’
* If he would consider getting married at a track now that he’s engaged: