Dale Earnhardt Jr. experienced plenty of success throughout his professional racing career with NASCAR. However, Earnhardt Jr. came away from some scary incidents that could have taken his life. One of those came early in his career that he still can’t comprehend how he made out alive.
Dale Earnhardt follows father’s footsteps
Dale Earnhardt Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps to pursue a professional racing career.
Although he didn’t reach the level of his dad’s success, Dale Jr. put together a respectable career that earned him an induction in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Earnhardt Jr. finished his career with 26 NASCAR Cup Series wins along with 24 Xfinity Series race wins. He also won the Daytona 500 twice and earned the Most Popular Driver Award 15 consecutive times.
Earnhardt Jr. experienced his fair share of frightening moments throughout his career, which his 2004 crash still boggles him to this day.
Dale Earnhardt’s miscalculated turn nearly cost him his life
Throughout his professional racing career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. experienced some scary moments on the track.
One of those came in 2004 as he practicing on the California’s Sonoma Raceway for the American Le Mans Series race. Things took a scary Earnhardt Jr. miscalculated a turn that quickly spun his corvette out of control and clipped the nearby wall and catching fire.
The car’s fuel line was ruptured by the impact that leaked the gasoline everywhere that quickly burst into flames. The crash dazed and confused Earnhadt Jr. for a few moments, but he managed to unbuckle his seatbelt. He somehow got out of the car.
Earnhardt Jr. was quickly placed on a stretcher in an ambulance, where he was airlifted to the University of California-Davis Medical Center and received treatment for his second-degree burns to his face and legs. He woke up in the hospital 12 hours later, which the injuries forced him to miss his next two races.
Despite the situation, Earnhardt Jr. still became the first driver to sweep the weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway but capturing wins in the Busch and Cup races.
Divine intervention saved his life?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has experienced several potential life-altering incidents, but his crash in 2004 still leaves him in shock.
Since he retired (semi-retired) from professional racing in 2016, he can’t grasp how he managed to live from that horrific crash. What still sticks with him is feeling like someone pulled him out of the burning car that morning. During a 60-Minutes interview, he voiced that believes his father played a part in him getting out of the car.
“I think he had a lot to do with me getting out of that car,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Absolutely. I don’t know how else to put it. I don’t want to put some weird psycho twist on it, like he was pulling me out or anything, but he had a lot to do with me getting out of that car. From the movement I made to unbuckle my belt, to laying on the stretcher, I have no idea what happened. How I got out.”
“I don’t have an explanation for it other than when I got into the infield care center, I had my PR man by the collar, screaming at him to find the guy that pulled me out of the car. He was like, ‘Nobody helped you get out.’ And I was like, ‘That’s strange, because I swear somebody had me underneath my arms and was carrying me out of the car. I mean, I swear to God.”
Footage at the track showed him crawling out of the car before paramedics helped him onto a stretcher. Earnhardt has been on the record for stating that he believes in paranormal activity, which this incident may factor into that sentiment.
Whatever the case may be, Earnhardt Jr. narrowly avoided a potentially fatal situation.