When Dale Earnhardt Jr. arrived last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, he hoped to recapture some of the magic that led him to six wins at NASCAR’s longest track earlier in his career.
It would be Earnhardt’s final time that he’d race at his favorite and most successful track and he wanted to take in as much of the experience and commit it to his memory bank as possible.
He had success on the track, earning his first career pole at ‘Dega and finishing seventh in the Alabama 500.
But more than anything, Earnhardt went to Talladega without any preconceived notions. He just wanted one thing, he said on Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America.
“I just wanted to have fun,” Earnhardt said. “We came away with a decent run. We would have loved to have won the race but I think the fans I’ve heard from said it was exciting to watch and we were in the mix all day long. So I’m happy I was somewhat deliver on the promise that we were going to have a good day.”
While Earnhardt approached it as just another race, the fact it was at Talladega took things to a much higher level, as well as being given his father’s former race car from 1979 and 1980 from the International Motorsports Hall of Fame that sits adjacent to the superspeedway.
“It was really emotional,” Earnhardt said. “We had the gift from the track with the car. I’d been going to the museum since I was about 12, seeing that car all those years. … I couldn’t believe they were letting me have this car.
“I was like what museum gives away their prized possessions? It was really a special moment to take the car out and go around the track.”
Listen to more of what made the weekend special for Junior in the video above.