Such is the life when one is the son of a legend in their respective sport. On the racetrack and in the community, Dale Jr. has more than lived up to the expectations that came with being Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s offspring.
But, as Dale Jr. explained in an interview, there was one major difference between him and his father when it came to racing.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a NASCAR legend
Assuming that Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains retired as a full-time driver, he still has one of the most outstanding resumes in recent NASCAR history.
Earnhardt retired after the 2017 season with 26 victories and 260 top-10 finishes. Although he never won a Cup Series, Earnhardt was always one of the sport’s most popular and successful racers.
Earnhardt, who now works for NBC, has since participated in some Xfinity Series races. He placed fifth at the Hooters 250 in Homestead, Fla., last summer.
His father, Dale Sr., had his own historic career
Dale Earnhardt Sr. is one of the greatest racers in NASCAR history, and some of his numbers still boggle the mind.
In 676 races over 27 years, Earnhardt won 76 races and posted 428 top-10 finishes. Earnhardt won seven Cup Series titles, which remains tied with Jimmie Johnson and Richard Petty for the most in NASCAR history.
When the NASCAR Hall of Fame had its inaugural class in 2010, Earnhardt joined Junior Johnson and Richard Petty among the inductees. NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and his son, Bill Jr., were also inducted that year.
Dale Jr. thought his driving style resembled another driver’s
Dale Earnhardt Jr. bears his father’s name and continued the family legacy on the racetrack.
While the father and son are each among two of the most successful and iconic racers in modern history, they did vary in one crucial area — at least, according to Earnhardt Jr.
In a 2016 interview with USA Today, Earnhardt Jr. admitted that his driving style was “definitely nothing” like his father’s.
“It’s not on purpose, it’s just I make decisions based on my own personality and my own personal judgment. I think that’s more similar to a guy like Bobby Allison or Donnie Allison or maybe Darrell Waltrip a little bit.”
Younger NASCAR fans may be unfamiliar with the Allison brothers or Waltrip. The brothers began racing in the 1960s and continued through the 1980s.
Waltrip, a three-time Cup Series champion, raced from 1972-2000. All three are in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his father have enough in common, whether it is their racing background or popularity, to differentiate in some areas. But it is interesting — and a testament to Dale Jr.’s knowledge of the sport’s history — that he would compare himself to such older drivers.