NASCAR

‘Treehouse Masters’ Made Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Longtime Dream Come True

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has an automotive graveyard on his property in North Carolina, so why wouldn’t you expect him to also have something fun and a bit more practical there, too?

Earnhardt has already lived the life of a star athlete, which just about every kid dreams about at some point. Not long ago, the retired NASCAR star fulfilled another longtime ambition after enlisting the help of an expert.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s North Carolina estate has it all

Dale Earnhardt Jr. constructed an elaborate treehouse behind his massive North Carolina home. It was featured on Animal Planet's 'Treehouse Masters.' | Paul Archuleta/Getty Images
Dale Earnhardt Jr. constructed an elaborate treehouse behind his massive North Carolina home. It was featured on Animal Planet’s ‘Treehouse Masters.’ | Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

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Retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s house just north of Mooresville, North Carolina, sits on one of a string of parcels big enough to accommodate a dirt go-kart track; nine-hole golf course; a replica town – “Whiskey River” — featuring a jail, saloon, and hotel; a vintage Union 76 gas station; and an auto graveyard with more than three dozen wrecked vehicles. On the practical side, Dirty Mo Acres also houses his 66,000-square-foot race shop.

Earnhardt’s 11,784-square-foot home and its parcel were reassessed at $5.2 million in 2019, and tax records peg the value of the other parcels at close to $7.7 million, according to Lake Norman Publications.

Remarkably, just about everything developed there, including the massive home, was done in less than a decade after Earnhardt purchased the property in 2007.

The treehouse made Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s dream come true

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The crowning touch to Dale Earnhardt Jr’s combination estate/playground has to be the backyard treehouse that he completed in 2015. And let’s just say that Earnhardt’s idea of a treehouse is quite a bit more elaborate than the average Joe’s idea of one. The front porch sits 20 feet off the ground, and the back side is more than 12 feet high.

The treehouse is insulated, wrapped in moisture barrier, and sided in a way that blends in with the surroundings. Amy Earnhardt decorated the interior.

It’s turned out so well that the project was featured on Treehouse Masters, a series on Animal Planet. In fact, it was show host Pete Nelson who sold Earnhardt the plans for $100.

“Building the treehouse is something I wanted to do for a long time,” Earnhardt said. “After seeing the Treehouse Masters show and doing some research on the plans that Pete sells, it’s something we decided to do.”

Earnhardt was still driving on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit at the time, so he put the project in the hands of friend Sonny Lunsford.

“Dale and I talked about having one, a little one, a long time ago, but we never did it,” Lunsford said on the Dale Jr. website. “Then he and Amy got to watching Treehouse Masters. Once that show started, we started talking about it again.”

The treehouse project gets the ultimate compliment

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Treehouse Masters host Pete Nelson, who’s done numerous projects of his own, rated Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s treehouse an overwhelming success.

“I even learned a thing or two. I give him an A-plus,” he said.

Project manager Sonny Lunsford used Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports team to weld the structural steel in between NASCAR projects and contracted out the engineering and much of the construction.

The finished project became a cherished refuge for Earnhardt during rare breaks while he was still racing. After all, he’s a guy who used to have to check into hotels under an assumed name to assure privacy.

“It’s a great place to sit back, drink beer and relax, unwind a little bit,” he said.

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