Dale Jr: “Had I never got to share that with him, man, that would be tough going the rest of my life wondering…”
It’s no secret that Dale Earnhardt Jr and his father had an interesting relationship. The two of them had love for each other but it wasn’t expressed.
The real moments with his father were rare. The Intinidator was hard on his son, relentlessly pushing him to do things on his own.
Earnhardt once stole $80 in quarters out of a jar, using a stick with masterful ingenuity. Teresa then put locks on every door inside the house, except the one to Earnhardt’s room. He was locked out of his own house, while inside.
Feeling weren’t out in the open. But, sometimes it’s easier to express those feeling with a pen.
A few months before Dale Earnhardt Sr died at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr sat down to write an column about his father for Winston Cup Scene.
Looking back, Earnhardt Jr now calls it the most important moment with his father…
Dale Earnhardt Jr writes an article about his father
“One night, for some reason, I sat down by myself, and I wrote this sort of essay about Dad and what he meant to me,” Dale Jr. said on Danica Patrick’s Pretty Intense podcast.
“And it took me no time at all to write this, and it just poured out with so much ease. I was extremely proud of it.”
“And so I was like, ‘I’m gonna take this, and I’m gonna publish it in this thing. Everybody’s gonna read it, and everybody’s gonna know how I feel about my dad.’ “
“But I was scared to do it without asking him. You don’t do anything about Dad, with Dad, with the use of his name or anything without going to him and saying, ‘Hey, is this OK?’ “
So I asked him if I could see him for a second. He’s up in his office at DEI. I go up there with that piece of paper.”
“I said, ‘Hey, I got this thing I wrote, and it’s about you. I want to put it in the Winston Cup Scene in a couple weeks, and I just need to make sure you’re OK with it.’ “
Dale Earnhardt reacts to the article written by Dale Jr
“And he takes it, and he reads it, and he stands up, and he starts walking around reading it. It’s only, you know, about a page. And he stops at the end, and he takes a minute.”
“He says, ‘You know, we never tell each other how we feel about each other, but in reading this, I know exactly how you feel.’ “
“And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I was like, ‘Man, that’s exactly how I feel about you, and I didn’t know you didn’t know that — you know, that I thought you were this great, amazing thing.’ “
“He was like, ‘I’m so glad you did this. I’m so glad you shared this with me.’ He doesn’t talk this way.”
“It was amazing! And so he’s like, ‘You can’t use this in this publication. You’ve gotta save this for a book or something.’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m not saving this! This is how I feel right now, and I want everybody to know it. So I’m gonna put it out there.’ And I did.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr calls it the most important moment with his dad
“But anyhow, I think had that not happened — had I not had that written — that moment is the most important moment in my life with my dad, without a doubt.”
“We had won races together and stood in Victory Lane together, but to know that he knew how I felt about him is really important because knowing that he would pass away many months later.”
“Had I never got to share that with him, man, that would be tough going the rest of my life wondering if — I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. Every believes what they want to believe, and I kind of have my beliefs, and I don’t know what they are sometimes.”
“I don’t know what to believe or what to expect. But if I was to never cross paths with him again and he’d leave this world without being able to share that with him would be so hard. I’d be in such a harder place in spending all these last 20 years without him.”