Dale Earnhardt‘s death dropped a massive black cloud over NASCAR as it lost its most popular driver. The tragedy left his son to pick up the pieces and continue the family legacy. With all that in mind, former NASCAR driver Ward Burton recently gave Dale Earnhardt Jr. a huge compliment.
Dale Earnhardt’s death leaves a massive void for NASCAR
Earnhardt Sr.’s tragic death rocked NASCAR to its core.
His absence left a massive hole, sending the sport into scramble mode, attempting to fill the gaping void. Beyond that, it left Dale Jr. to pick up the pieces and carry NASCAR forward as the most recognizable driver.
It wasn’t an easy path, and it featured many challenging instances along with numerous unforgettable moments. Dale Jr. didn’t match or exceed his father’s success, but he left a mark that only heightened the Earnhardt legacy.
With that in mind, a fellow former NASCAR driver recently gave him the ultimate compliment.
Ward Burton applauds Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s handling of NASCAR pressure after dad’s death: ‘There’s not a lot of people that could have done what you did’
Earnhardt has spent the last two decades working toward honoring his father’s illustrious legacy.
During a recent interview on the Dale Jr. Download, Burton applauded Earnhardt for how he’s handled having the weight of NASCAR on his shoulders since his father’s tragic death.
“After your dad passed, I can’t imagine with not only with everything that was going on with all dynamics with your family, you had the whole sport on your shoulders,” Burton said. ” How you handled that and still do is amazing. There is not a lot of people that could have done what you did. …To carry that load, you have done an amazing job and you still do.”
Earnhardt responded by voicing that drivers like Burton helped him persevere and represent his family and the sport in the best manner possible.
“I think the reason why I wanted to do as good as I could was because of guys like you,” Earnhardt said. “The Ward Burtons, Bobby LaBontes, and Dale Jarretts, all those people I raced against. I wanted all of y’all to help me. Not even directly, but indirectly help me get from week to week. Showed me how to act. Showed me how to handle myself around the race track and in the garage after races in interviews and all that stuff. I still lean on you guys.”
Dale Sr.’s passing left a tremendous void, placing significant pressure on his son to pick up the slack. Earnhardt Jr. didn’t come anywhere near his father’s success, but he brought more respect and admiration to the family name.
He continues to strive toward honoring his father through his work beyond his NASCAR racing career.
Forever intertwined with NASCAR
Since stepping into retirement, Earnhardt has maintained a strong involvement with NASCAR.
Beyond his co-ownership of JR Motorsports, the 46-year-old expanded his reach to other media realms far exceeding any race track. He began Dirty Mo Media, where he hosts his popular weekly podcast.
Earnhardt routinely uses the platform to interview guests tied to the sport or his father’s racing career. Meanwhile, he picked up broadcast duties for NBC Sports, covering the second half of the NASCAR season. He quickly became a staple in that realm and hopes to have a career that spans the next 10 to 15 years.
The two-time Daytona 500 winner also holds a strong presence on social media, which has only grown the admiration fans have toward him. He may no longer be behind the wheel, but Earnhardt has made it his life’s mission to honor his father’s legacy.