Dale Earnhardt Jr recalls his thoughts from when he first joined the sport: “I was like, ‘What is a brand?! What is my brand? I don’t have a brand. What is that? It’s not tangible. I can’t see it. Can someone explain it to me?’ I thought it was so silly.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr and Mike Davis recently met with a group of young drivers at the NASCAR Driver Development Seminar. They were talking to all the rookies in the K&N Pro Series, Truck Series and Xfinity Series. They covered a wide range of topics. A bulk of the conversation had nothing to do with the race car.
In today’s world, the definition of a professional race car driver might have shifted a little bit. Some fans won’t like that, but that’s certainly the case. A drivers performance outside the car is just as important as important as what he can do behind the wheel.
It takes much more than speed to be a driver. You have to be the complete package.
Dale Earnhardt Jr
“All they’re worried about right now, is winning,” Dale Earnhardt Jr said of his meeting with the rookie camp. “You know, this is correct to feel this way.”
“They feel like they barely got a grip on their opportunity. They don’t wanna do anything to mess it up. They’ve gotta preform on the track, to get a stronger grip.”
“Our message was that they also have a responsibility and an obligation to the sport and an obligations to themselves — To be as important and as aggressive, outside of the car.”
“Whether it’s social media or working with our media. Doing appearances and getting opportunities to be in publications. Anything they can do to raise their profile, they need to do it.”
“And be open to doing it. A lot of guys either think their not important enough or that they don’t need to do that. [They think] if they win, everything else takes care of itself.”
“A lot of the guys are just lazy. I was lazy. I didn’t wanna go to New York and promote the sport. I wanted to lay at home and play video games. It’s a terrible habit to shut that down.”
“You get a reputation in this sport of someone who is not easy to work with. Then, when new opportunities come and maybe these are opportunities that you want — You’re not at the top of the list. NASCAR’s going to go to the next guy, the one that was more receptive.”
Race car driver: The brand
“When I came in the sport people were saying, brand this and brand that. Grow your brand!”
“I was like, ‘What is a brand?! What is my brand? I don’t have a brand. What is that? It’s not tangible. I can’t see it. Can someone explain it to me?’ I thought it was so silly.”
“But, as I got more and more involved and further along in my career I realized what a brand is and why it’s important. It’s really what connects you to the fans.”
“Fans need to know who you are outside of the car. What’s your interests? And can they relate to you? So your brand is your reputation and your personality, all in one.”
“This is something they’ll learn. Maybe down the road, they’ll go, ‘You know what Dale was saying? This makes sense now.’ We’re just trying to give them some tools.”
“Everything they do outside of the car should have purpose.”