Dale Earnhardt Jr approached by new drivers that grew up as JR Nation fans – “It was weird. That was cool. Very cool. Yes, I liked it.”
Two weeks ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr pulled double duty. He ran both the NASCAR Cup Series event as well as the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr is no stranger to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He’s run 138 Xfinity races while collecting 24 NXS wins since his debut in 1996. However, the Bristol race was his first Xfinity race of 2017.
“Friday was a busy day. We ran the Xfinity race,” Dale Jr begins the story. “Which was a lot of fun. I had fun in the car. I like racing in the Xfinity Series and I’ll tell you something interesting that happened.”
“I went to driver intro’s and I had these guys that are starting in that race, coming up to me and shaking my hand.”
“I get handed this license plate. From the Department of Transportation, or something from Virginia. I mean, very nice, framed license plate. This will be great to hang in my bar.”
“I turn around, I’m like I got nobody to give this to. I guess I’m going to have to carry this in the racecar. Where is Tyler?”
“I had to give it to Justin Allgaier’s wife, who gave it to Tony. This thing could have not made it home.”
“Then, after the license plate deal. A couple of drivers that are in the field, are coming up to me. I’ve never met these guys. I don’t really know who they were.”
“I don’t know half the field in the Xfinity race. That’s no knock on those guys. There’s a lot of new faces every week.”
“But they came up to me and they’re like, “Man, I’m so glad. I’m excited to be starting this race with you.’ And talked about how they’d been fans of mine growing up.”
“God. That’s something that you don’t anticipate. You’re not sitting there waiting on people to be like, ‘Hey, I’m going to go to this drivers meeting and wait for people to shake my hand.’ ”
“It was weird. That was cool. Very cool. Yes, I liked it.”
Retiring? Dale Jr will be working more
Dale Jr continued, “I was like, ‘Man, this is neat. This must be what it feels like to be a retiring veteran’ ”
But you’re not retiring? “I know. I’m probably going to be working more. People keep telling me, ‘Happy retirement’ or ‘Why are you retiring?’
“I’m not really retiring. I’m just going to do another job. I just here retirement and I’m like, ‘Man, I’m too young to retire’. I’ll retire at 65.”
“I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be here next year. I’ll see you.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 13th in the Xfinity race at Bristol. He finished 23rd the following night in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event.