Dale Earnhardt Jr. put together a highly respectable NASCAR career that landed him in the Hall of Fame. Earnhardt Jr. also held the honor of being the sport’s most recognizable driver that placed plenty of the spotlight on him. All that led him to use a trick at hotels to avoid the scrutiny.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR career
Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent more than two decades behind the wheel on the NASCAR track.
Earnhardt Jr. strung together a highly respectable career that first began with a pair of Xfinity Series championships. He followed it with 19 years as a full-time Cup Series driver, where he won 26 races, including a pair of Daytona 500 victories.
Earnhardt Jr. finished inside the top 10 in the point standings seven times while placing inside the top five four times. He also became the most popular driver in the sport during his time behind the wheel, earning 15 Most Popular Driver awards.
The unrelenting spotlight around him led him down an interesting path to avoid attention from fans and the media.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. snuck around unnoticed in hotels by using a secret alias
Being the son of iconic NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. put Dale Jr. in the spotlight well before taking the same career path.
Earnhardt Jr. has dealt with media attention throughout his life that led him down a pathway of using an alias to get into his hotel room. During a media session in September 2017 in his last season, he revealed he used legendary Old Western outlaw Billy the Kid’s actual name to go unnoticed.
“William Bonney, that was Billy the Kids’ name. That’s what I used at hotels,” Junior said. “I doubt I would even try it. I think I just would come on in there and race, and I wouldn’t really have any reason to hide, I suppose.”
Although he used it throughout his career, Earnhardt Jr. has no interest in using that name again in retirement. If anything, it sheds light on times where he felt like he wanted to go without much attention off the track.
Earnhardt Jr. did suggest that he could use the name for attending races in retirement. However, he continues to further embrace the interactions with fans, especially since stepping away from his racing career.
“I might enjoy signing some autographs and just kinda being in that environment as a driver,” Earnhardt said. “It might be hard to just quit cold turkey. It might do me some good to hold those feelings again.”
Legacy forever tied to NASCAR
As Dale Earnhardt Jr. ventures through retirement, he has stayed significantly attached to NASCAR.
Beyond his co-ownership of JR Motorsports, he has made a concerted effort to keep the sport an active part of his life. Earnhardt Jr. has constructed an extremely popularly weekly podcast, Dale Jr. Download, while picking up broadcast duties with NBC Sports covering NASCAR races.
Earnhardt Jr. has also made it a life mission to highlight his father’s legacy through his podcast and various other ventures. One of those lanes is increasing his efforts in acquiring items from his dad’s legendary career. The latest being buying his father’s 1984 Chevy nova for $190,000 that he has fully restored.
Dale Jr. is now in line to drive the vehicle as the pace car for an Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway in May. Although he is no longer behind the wheel on a NASCAR track, the Hall of Famer has fully embraced his place in the sport’s spotlight.