Over the last several years, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has become an open book with his personality. It’s part of what has made Earnhardt Jr. even more beloved and admired by fans in NASCAR retirement. His outspokenness on any matter concerning the sport led him to voice a firm stance concerning fighting.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. experienced intense moments off NASCAR track
Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s two-plus decade career on the NASCAR track featured a respectable amount of success.
Earnhardt Jr.’s time behind the wheel also saw him get into a few verbal incidents. That most notably came through his beef with Kyle Busch during the 2008 season.
The feud with Busch is one that he looks back now as being “unhealthy,” but it’s part of his career nonetheless. Brushing all that aside, Earnhardt Jr. didn’t hesitate to voice how he truly feels about fighting.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. never feared stepping into a fight: ‘I’m not afraid to get my a** whooped’
Throughout Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racing career, he had his fair share of intense moments with other drivers.
Earnhardt Jr. didn’t go through any public experience of physically fighting, but it doesn’t mean he was afraid to go that route. During an episode of the Dale Jr. Download podcast in October 2017, he talked about Ryan Newman’s verbal spat with Jeff Gordon.
The conflict arose from the Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway as Newman prevented Chase Elliott from passing him in the final few laps. The finish in the event saw Elliott lose the points lead, allowing Kyle Busch to jump ahead. Gordon reportedly sarcastically told Newman, “Thanks for the help,” to which he fired back, calling the Hall of Famer a “smartass.”
Bouncing off the situation, Earnhardt Jr. voiced that he would have wouldn’t have shied away from a fight with Newman had he been in Gordon’s shoes. (H/T USA TODAY Sports)
“I’m not afraid to get my ass whooped, so I’d probably step to him. You can’t not step to him,” Earnhardt Jr. said.” It’s like being the guy in the bar. You’re in front of everybody, you know this guy’s bigger than you, he has the odds in his favor, but you’re in front of all your friends.
” What are you going to do? So you’ve gotta be willing to take an ass-whooping every once in a while.”
Earnhardt Jr. may not have fought anyone, but he did go through some notable verbal barbs, such as his issues with Kyle Busch that persisted for quite some time. Nonetheless, it shows that he isn’t scared to get his hands dirty.
NASCAR remains forever fueled by rivalries
Beyond Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s willingness to fight, it further underlines that rivalries are what truly drive the sport’s popularity.
Over the years, NASCAR has had numerous high-emotion-filled moments, but it’s those situations that create increased viewership. In other words, the entertainment factor goes well beyond what takes place on the track.
It’s the rivalries that fuel the sport, be it through the spirit of competition (Dale Sr.-Jeff Gordon) or pure hatred (Denny Hamlin-Joey Logano). It’s an element that will forever remain a drawing point for the sport.
Yes, seeing Earnhardt Jr. throwing some punches would have been entertaining to see for NASCAR fans, but his remarks speak to the intense emotions that come with the territory.