Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Mom’s Death Scared Him About His Life: ‘It Really Messed Me Up’

Throughout the last couple of decades, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has dealt with personal tragedies that have shaped his life well beyond any NASCAR track. Earnhardt Jr. experienced another tough loss nearly two years ago when his mother passed away. The situation has had a greater impact on him than he ever imagined.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s mom’s passing

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s personal life took a disappointing turn after his mother, Brenda Jackson, passed away at age 65 in April 2019 due to lung cancer.

Jackson married Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1972 and had two children together, Dale Jr. and Kelly Earnhardt Miller. Over the years, she supported her son’s path through his NASCAR, including his retirement from the sport after the 2017 season due to concussion issues.

She also helped him with the Dale Jr. Foundation and various other charitable efforts. With all that in mind, her passing shook her son to the core that significantly changed his lifestyle.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s mom’s death scared him about his life

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Throughout Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s life, he has dealt with much personal tragedy along the way.

One of those moments came in April 2019 when he lost his mom. During an interview on Danica Patrick’s Pretty Intense Podcast in October 2020, Earnhardt Jr. voiced that unlike his father’s sudden passing, his mother’s death had a tremendous impact on his outlook on life. 

“My dad’s death didn’t have a real impact on my approach to life. I was young and a lot of in front of me,” said Earnhardt Jr. “It impacted me in a lot of ways, but it didn’t do what my mom’s death did. When my mom passed away this year, it really messed me up. It made me really scared about how much time I have left.”

“Especially when I look at my daughters, I want to be here a while and I don’t want to just suddenly leave them at very young age. I worry too much. I really got thinking about that. I got to take better care of myself or if there’s anything I can change in my lifestyle that might help me.”

Earnhardt Jr. took his mother’s death pretty hard, given that it came at a different stage in his life. The passing came when he had a much different perspective due to becoming a husband and father.

His outlook is focused on extending how many years he has left to be there for his wife and children. Earnhardt Jr. now holds an even greater appreciation and importance on living a healthier lifestyle for his family.

Life changed since NASCAR retirement

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In the first few years since Dale Earnhardt Jr. stepped away from his professional driving career, he has taken a much different approach to his life.

His experiences with his personal health and losses have pushed him to become more publicly open. Earnhardt Jr. has written a book about his struggles with his health linked to his concussion symptoms.

He has also become quite open about his personal life through his Dale Earnhardt Jr. Download podcast and various other interviews. That aspect alone has helped him become a much more relatable person in the world of NASCAR and professional sports.

There is an authenticity that fans and his colleagues admire that has seen personal growth and maturation over the years. His comments about his mother’s passing are another avenue into his mind that further endears him to those in the NASCAR community.