Role model: Dale Earnhardt Jr. hopes to be as impactful as Benny Parsons out of car

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Although Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t know what’s next for him after his Cup driving career ends this year, he looks for guidance from a NASCAR Hall of Famer.

Benny Parsons.

The 1973 champion made a significant impact on the sport as a broadcaster after his driving career ended. Parson’s friendly manner was a magnet for fans at the track and watching on TV.

Brad Keselowski called Parsons “one of the finest ambassadors in our sport’s history” when Parsons was inducted into the Hall of Fame in January.

Parson’s legacy remains with Earnhardt as he looks ahead to life beyond racing in NASCAR.

One of the people that I really respected a lot was Benny Parsons,’’ Earnhardt said Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “I thought that he left as important of a mark outside the car as he did inside the car. Whatever mark I can leave, I would love to be able to be as big an asset to the sport as I can be beyond driving.

“It’s up to everyone else as to how big an asset I was up to this point, but I’d love to still be helpful and do whatever I can to help the sport. I love being around it and being a part of it and I love racing. I love watching racing. We’ve got a lot of things to be excited about. There’s a lot of young talent pouring in and they’re going to be fun to watch.”

Might his role include having an impact on who will drive the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports after this season?

“I would love to have a lot,’’ he said. “In my position, I’m paid to drive Rick’s (Hendrick) car. If he wants something else from me, I’m going to wait for him to ask for it. 

“I wouldn’t ever go in there and go ‘Man, this is what you guys have got to do.’  With (Doug) Duchardt (General Manager, Hendrick Motorsports) and all the folks that they have working there they all probably… I can’t read their minds, but I’m sure they all have a direction that they want to go and they have ideas. 

“There are just things about the company that I’m not quite as in touch with that they are that will help them make that decision. They probably have everybody in the world telling them what they ought to do and they don’t need me, but if they ask for it I’m certainly wanting to be involved in that. I want the team to have more success.

“I want them to have a driver that I feel is plenty capable because I want to see those guys win races because they are my brothers, and I also love it when Rick is happy and he likes to win.’’

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