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Dale Earnhardt Sr. didn’t have many hobbies outside of motorsports. When he wasn’t racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, he could typically be found outdoors either hunting or fishing, but he had one other guilty pleasure that he used to blow off steam. Earnhardt Sr. loved to play his Comet pinball machine he had installed in his basement during his career.

So when his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., filled out his podcast studio with sentimental items from his and his dad’s careers, a Comet pinball machine was one of the first on the list.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked up to his father

Dale Earnhardt Sr. loved playing pinball in the family basement, so Dale Jr. keeps a similar pinball machine in his studio to remember his father.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks on stage during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards | David Becker/Getty Images

There is no Dale Earnhardt Jr. without Dale Sr. In a literal sense, this is obviously true, but Dale Jr. originally got into NASCAR because of his father. Dale Sr. taught him everything he knows now about the art of auto racing.

When he tragically passed away in 2001, Dale Jr. was crushed. His father was his teacher, his mentor, and his hero. Eventually, though, Dale Jr. learned to appreciate the time he spent with his dad and cherish it.

“You’re real fortunate to have known him, fortunate to have learned and had the experiences you had with him,” Earnhardt told reporters at Daytona International Speedway after his father’s death. “You think about those and be glad that was an opportunity you got to experience.

“Instead of being sad about it, I think about all the awesome times we had and good things we did and stuff I think he’d be proud of today.”

Earnhardt Jr. decorates his podcast studio with sentimental items from his and his dad’s careers

In 2013, Dale Earnhardt Jr. started to dip his toes into the podcasting pond. Along with his JR Motorsports team, Earnhardt launched the Dale Jr. Download on Dirty Mo Radio. Since the birth of the podcast, Earnhardt has continued to upgrade his studio with artifacts from his and his dad’s racing careers.

The walls of his studio are littered with old car parts, trophies, photos, and awards he won during his illustrious NASCAR career. One item, however, is a little different from the rest.

Earnhardt Jr. has a pinball machine in his podcast studio to remember his dad


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During a recent episode of the Dale Jr. Download, Earnhardt answered questions during the “Ask Jr.” portion of the show. One listener asked if the pinball machine that Earnhardt had sitting in his studio still worked, and the NASCAR legend told the backstory of the sentimental game.

Yes! Oh, yes. Absolutely. So the pinball machine, dad had that same style of pinball machine in the basement of the house when I moved there in 1981. So this is a Comet pinball machine. It’s a roller coaster, amusement park theme, and it’s a lot of fun to play. But I remember dad had that same machine in the basement of the house, and he played it every night. He had a barber’s chair that sat in front of it, and he sat in the barber’s chair and played. Oh man, he was always trying to beat his high score, and he played it a ton. I just remember that thing sitting there and no one else got to play. So I wanted to have the same pinball machine because I knew that was one of dad’s favorite things. He didn’t have many hobbies outside of racing besides deer hunting, but he played that pinball machine a lot.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.