Dale Earnhardt Jr Divulges Into His “Cautionary Tale” as Kenny Wallace Gives the Legend His Flowers


Being a NASCAR driver seems to have taken a toll on Dale Earnhardt Jr! The veteran recently revealed how, after a decades-long stint on the racetrack in stock car racing, the negative aspects of his career have stuck with him as much as the good ones.
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Despite not winning the Cup Series, Junior is considered to be a legend of the sport. The 49-year-old has won 2 Xfinity Series titles and 2 Daytona 500s races. He has also won NASCAR’s ‘Most Popular Driver’ award a staggering 15 times. Despite having these accolades to his name, the NASCAR Hall of Famer still has to deal with negative emotions, as was revealed by him during a conversation with Kenny Wallace.
Apart from the physical impact, the mental toll the sport can take on a driver can be excruciating at times. Even drivers who have achieved a ton of success in their careers can be carried away by the times they weren’t performing well. That is what the former NASCAR Cup Series driver spoke about on a recent episode of the Kenny Conversation with Kenny Wallace.
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Dale Earnhardt Jr reveals the struggles of being a NASCAR driver
The final years of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s career were tough. He has battling concussion issues (which ultimately forced him to retire in 2017) and was not challenging for race wins as much as he had hoped. Kenny Wallace seemed a bit surprised by this given how much Junior has achieved in his career.
“I think your story is what I call, it’s a cautionary tale where as great as you are, right away, you went to the negative so let’s ease it up. I just read you your stats. You’re great…what do you think when I tell you all that?” the 60-year-old asked Junior.
The 49-year-old owner of JR Motorsports then revealed that despite having a successful career, it was those final years of struggle that left a bigger impact on him when he retired. Junior also used Jimmie Johnson as an example, stating that even the 7-time Cup Series champion used to get disappointed and frustrated when he wasn’t performing well towards the back end of his NASCAR career.
“You get down the road and you’re like…I really only remember…you know, are left with this imprint or emotional imprint from those final few years…I was around Jimmie Johnson a lot in his final few years and you know, it blew my mind,” Junior said.
Watch This Story: Next Gen Cars Stir Debate in NASCAR“Even all of that success hasn’t weathered or leathered his emotions to where he still feels the hurt, the pain, and the disappointment of a loss or just a frustrating run or a lack of speed. He feels that as real and as authentic as any other driver in the field,” the 49-year-old added.
However, an athlete needs to remember their glory days and not mull over how they performed towards the back end of their careers. To this extent, Junior said to Kenny Wallace that he often revisits his old races in the Xfinity Series when he used to be the champion.
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Former Xfinity Series champion revisits his glory days at iconic track
One of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s best tracks back then was the Martinsville Speedway. The 49-year-old revealed the time when he consistently finished in the top five of the February races at the track in the Xfinity Series.
“I do go back and look at the old Bud days and kind of remind myself that man we had some good stretches where we won a handful of Xfinity February races, the 300 in February. We won a handful of those in a row…we were at Martinsville just a couple of weeks ago and somebody was like, you know, you had a stretch of 5 top-five finishes in a row or something like that back in the Bud days,” Junior said.
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Dale Earnhardt Jr will go down in history as one of the great NASCAR drivers of his time. The 49-year-old might not have achieved a Cup Series title victory, but that doesn’t make the Hall of Famer’s career any less impressive.
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