Dale Earnhardt Jr: Getting fired led to a NASCAR career

Dale Earnhardt Jr was fired from his dad’s dealership – Sending him on a path to race cars

Had Dale Earnhardt Jr not been fired from Earnhardt Chevrolet, he might not be in the field at all today at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Watch the video below.

“Long story short… I got fired,” Dale Earnhardt Jr tells the story on Trackside Live.

Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth - last race - Hoemstead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 17: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Hurricane Relief Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 AXALTA Chevrolet, and members of their teams pose for a photo after qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2017 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

“I was working at the dealership,” Dale Earnhardt Sr owned a dealership in North Carolina. “I used to change oil. I was the best oil change mechanic, in North Carolina. By far! You remember the 29 minutes or less oil change? I could do it in 8.”

“This new service manager comes in and says, ‘Y’all gunna have to stay after we I got this meeting.’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll stay if I can clock in. I ain’t clockin’ out and then stayin’ He said, ‘Naw, you gotta clock out then we’re gunna stay and have a meeting’ I said, ‘That aint the way it works you gotta let everybody stay on the clock.’ ”

“He said,’No.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m going home.’ I came back the next day. He said, ‘You need to take a couple days off.’ ”

Earnhardt Chevrolet
Earnhardt Chevrolet

In these days, Dale Earnhardt Jr wasn’t racking in the dollar bills. $120 after taxes made trips to the gas pump difficult.

“It’s a 45 min drive home. I called my dad only because I know my dad. He would send me back. If I drove all the way home, he’d say, ‘Why are you here? Go back to work.’ ”

“Well the guy sent me home,” Dale Earnhardt Jr explains how it would have went with his dad.

“I don’t care. I own the place, go back to work,” would have been the response from Dale Sr.

“I didn’t have the gas money to be doing all that drivin’ So I called dad. I said, ‘look, this guy’s tryin’ to fire me or send me home.’ He said, ‘Well, tell him you’re gunna work. Tell him you’re either workin’ or you ain’t workin’ ”

“I didn’t tell him I called my dad. I just went back to the service manager and I said, ‘I’m either gunna work or you send me home.’ He said, ‘Get somebody to help you load your toolbox up. Get out of here.’ ”

“I said, ‘ok’ I loaded up the tool box and I left. I got to the shop and Dad saw me driving in. He said, ‘Damn! I can’t believe that guy fired you!’ ”

“I said, ‘Yeah he did. I ain’t got no job. So, he paid me $100/week more than I was making at the dealership to work on Kelley’s race car. I built a brand new car for her. We started racing at Tri-County and I started going with her to the races.”

I probably wouldn’t be a race car driver today, had that not happened.

-Dale Earnhardt Jr

“It was the best thing that happened to me. I probably wouldn’t be a race car driver today, had that not happened.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr makes his final start as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver today at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He’ll start at the tail following an engine change.

Related: Budweiser Commercial – Dale Earnhardt Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr fired from his dad’s dealership


Dale Earnhardt Jr | Nationwide 88 | Homestead-Miami | NASCAR