Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of the most recognizable faces in NASCAR. Earnhardt Jr.‘s popularity has only grown in retirement through his involvement in the sport’s media coverage. His transition to that role has opened his eyes to a regret that still bothers him to this day.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR popularity
Throughout much of his NASCAR racing career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the sports’ most popular driver.
Earnhardt Jr. has expanded on that as he’s become an open book in retirement. He has discussed his struggles with his health, along with detailing his relationship with his father and the impact of Dale Sr.’s death in the years that have followed.
The 46-year-old has kept himself intertwined with the sport through his Dale Jr. Download podcast along with his NBC Sports broadcasting role. All that has quickly guided Earnhardt Jr. to a realization he wishes he would have made years ago.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains bothered by one of his biggest regrets as a NASCAR driver
Since stepping into retirement, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has fully embraced his role in helping NASCAR media coverage in the broadcast booth.
His transition to this new position has helped open his eyes to the other side of the sport. In a 1-on-1 interview with Jeff Gordon through AXALTA World of Racing in June 2019, Earnhardt Jr. voiced that he regrets not being more open and available during his NASCAR career.
“I wish I would have known back in the first half of my career what I know now about the broadcasting end,” Earnhardt said. “I’ve learned as a broadcaster, and I watch a lot of the print media as well that are there every race. I see now how important their job is to the sport.
“How much more they are working at and how much they need the drivers to engage. Seeing it from this perspective as a broadcaster, I go, ‘Wow. I could have done so much more. I could have been so [much] easier to work with.’ I could have realized how important that engagement is for the sport, not just for me [as a driver].”
Earnhardt also admitted that through the first part of his career that he didn’t understand what a brand meant. The 46-year-old now holds a clear understanding of the media side regarding their coverage of the sport.
The personalities of the drivers are critical to fueling the fan interest level for NASCAR. It’s the rivalries and often fierce competition that leads to grander viewership. The battles on the track are entertaining, but it’s the character of the drivers that elevates the sport to the next level.
Bright future ahead in the broadcast booth
In his first few years into retirement, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has completely taken on the responsibility that comes with working in the broadcast booth.
Earnhardt Jr. has quickly become a staple in the business through his often entertaining work as a commentator. His style calling races holds no favorites while providing unique insight for the various driving situations that arise during the course of an event.
Earnhardt Jr.’s position also provides him the freedom to get behind the wheel for a race each year. Beyond that, he’s fully committed to the craft that he hopes to maintain for the next 10-15 years.
Moving forward, Earnhardt Jr. will hold a significant role in helping to expand the NASCAR brand.