Dale Earnhardt Jr. has embraced everything that comes with his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr.‘s legacy. Since his passing, Dale Jr. has taken the onus to further uplift his father’s name in the sport he dominated for nearly three decades. However, all that sprouted a fear in him concerning his dad’s place in NASCAR history.
Dale Earnhardt’s NASCAR legacy
Before Dale Earnhardt Sr.‘s tragic passing, he strung together an illustrious NASCAR career.
Earnhardt Sr. experienced tremendous success through his nearly three-decade run as he remains tied for the all-time mark with seven Cup Series championships. He also earned 76 career Cup Series wins, 21 Xfinity Series victories, and finished in the top five in Cup Series points 14 times.
Earnhardt Sr. is recognized as one of the sports greatest drivers, while his aggressive driving style garnered him the nickname “The Intimidator.” His dominance on the track also helped make him one of the sport’s most popular drivers.
His sudden passing left a gigantic void that struck the sport to its core. Earnhardt Sr.’s death also created a lingering fear in his son’s mind when it came to his father’s place in NASCAR history.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. feared that people would forget his father’s NASCAR legacy
It’s been two decades since Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed away from his devastating Daytona 500 crash.
Since then, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has embraced carrying on his father’s immense legacy through his own NASCAR career and life in retirement. During a recent interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Dale Jr. voiced he held the fear that those around the sport would forget his father.
“My biggest fear was that, one day, people are going to forget what kind of impact he had on the sport. What was his value,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I was really scared that eventually, enough time was going to pass to where people just moved on and didn’t credit him or remember him for what he was.
“I have been amazed that people see him the same today as he was back then. They see the value, the impact, and all those things. None of that has diminished at all. I am very appreciative of that, and I do everything I can to try to keep his legacy intact and alive. I make sure everybody remembers why this sport is where it’s at today.”
In the years following Earnhardt Sr.’s death, what has transpired has been the polar opposite of Dale Jr.’s fear. His legacy and impact on the sport remain a constant while he still stands as a strong source of inspiration for the generations of drivers that followed him.
Earnhardt Jr. has played a significant role in how that’s transpired through his ongoing involvement in NASCAR through his podcast and race broadcast duties. If anything, his father’s legacy rings more distinctly today than 20 years ago.
Legacy lives on forever
It may be two decades since Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed away, but his legacy and impact remain firmly intact.
Beyond the remembrance each year at the Daytona 500, Earnhardt established a firm place in NASCAR history. His seven Cup Series titles remain a mark that speaks to his utter dominance throughout the bulk of his career.
His impact goes well beyond his driving as the fatal accident created a tremendous ripple effect with the drivers’ safety measures. Since his death, those massive changes have helped save many lives in the sport.
All that has etched Dale Earnhardt Sr. an irreplaceable mark on NASCAR will only grow stronger as the years pass.