Dale Earnhardt Jr. cemented his place in NASCAR history with his time behind the wheel. He had many memorable races throughout his Hall of Fame career. With that in mind, Earnhardt Jr. revealed his two favorite moments, which happened to come at the same NASCAR track.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR career
After following his father’s footsteps into professional racing, Earnhardt Jr. constructed a respectable NASCAR career.
Earnhardt Jr. started with back-to-back Xfinity Series championships that launched a nearly two-decade tenure as a full-time Cup Series driver. He won 26 Cup Series races, including the Daytona 500 twice.
He never earned a Cup Series title but finished inside the top 10 in the points standings seven times. With all that in mind, Earnhardt Jr. singled out two races as his favorite memories.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. reveals the two best moments in his NASCAR Career
Over his two-decade racing career, Earnhardt Jr. experienced many memorable moments on the NASCAR track.
Earnhardt Jr. launched the Apprecia88ion tour during his final season and first singled out his victory at the 2001 Pepsi 400.
In a video, the NASCAR Hall of Famer stated the win played out like a movie as it marked his first victory on the Daytona International Speedway following his father’s tragic death.
“If they make any movie relative to my life, it will probably be about that win,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It was just hard to believe [and] too good to be true. You watch that race and see how competitive that car and how dominant that car was, it made you feel like there was nothing you couldn’t do. The car was just faster than anyone’s car.”
Earnhardt led 116 of the 160 total laps but dropped from the lead to the sixth spot with six laps to go. Despite that, he managed to maneuver his way to the top position to grab the emotional win.
His other favorite race memory centered on his first Daytona 500 win in 2004. Earnhardt Jr. vividly remembers short-pitting the race that came down to getting past Tony Stewart.
“The race got spread out and it just came down to me and Tony,” he said. “All I had to do was trying to pass him without anybody helping, which I did not think was going to be possible. … I just got enough up to his quarter panel.
“I’m thinking how the hell did this happen. I drove up to his side door and started side-drafting him. I bumped his car a little bit and that may have slowed him down. … We held maybe four car lengths for the final 20 laps.”
Earnhardt Jr. added that he was baffled that Stewart never made a run to challenge the lead. He voiced that the No. 20 car driver “made it easy” to clinch the win.
These two races at Daytona remain his two favorite memories in his racing career.
Remains forever tied to NASCAR
Earnhardt Jr. is nearly four years removed from his last Cup Series race, but he remains significantly involved in NASCAR.
Beyond his co-ownership of JR Motorsports, the 46-year-old took up an NBC Sports broadcast booth job covering races. He hopes to hold the position for at least the next 10-15 years.
Meanwhile, he has a weekly podcast, Dale Jr. Download, through his Dirty Mo Media company. Earnhardt Jr. routinely interviews guests involved with NASCAR or his father’s career.
He also remains a prominent presence on social media, which has only grown his popularity. All of that further underlines his permanent place in NASCAR.