CHARLOTTE – Dale Earnhardt Jr. has qualified to run The Clash next season, but his wife appears to have the final say on his eligibility.
NASCAR’s 14-time most popular driver, who is retiring from full-time driving after the 2017 season, has hinted at racing in The Clash since winning the pole position at Daytona International Speedway three weeks ago (and earning a spot in next year’s season-opening exhibition). He has said he would lobby team owner Rick Hendrick if he won a pole, but he might need to campaign harder at home.
“Amy doesn’t want me to run it,” Earnhardt said Tuesday after unveiling his Southern 500 car at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “I’ve got a pole and kind of want to run it. But we’ll see if she warms up to it.”
In a tweet Tuesday night, Amy Earnhardt indicated she probably wouldn’t budge.
On a recent podcast, Earnhardt Jr. alluded to his wife’s reservations, which Amy said had prompted an argument.
He missed the final 18 races of the 2016 season while recovering from a concussion. He returned this season but declined to participate in The Clash (despite being eligible as a former winner of the event, which he won in 2003 and ’08).
“I skipped this year because I really had no reason to run it,” Earnhardt said Tuesday.