Dale Earnhardt Jr. admits he was very insecure about himself in his early NASCAR days and that his wife helped him change his approach.
Earnhardt Jr. is one of the biggest names in NASCAR’s history. He’s the son of seven-time Cup Series Champion Dale Earnhardt. While his racing career wasn’t as glittering as that of his father’s, the younger Earnhardt worked his way towards building his own legacy in the sport.
The North Carolina native is one of the most outspoken figures in NASCAR. As a result, imagining him shying away from the microphone seems very difficult today.
His influence on the sport has been such that, in spite of not winning a Championship or having majorly successful racing career, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame earlier this year.
In a recent interview, the 47-year old spoke about his early days in the spotlight. He admitted that he was overwhelmed by all the negativity, and was scared of people making fun of him.
“I was afraid of any kind of rejection or any kind of negativity,” he said. “When you go put yourself out there, you risk someone not liking that opinion. Or someone not agreeing with you or making fun of you. And I was really scared of that.”
everyone shut up I am genuinely in tears over lewis hamilton and george russell pic.twitter.com/IjC7YN9SdX
— honey ✨🍸 (@bitriptucker) January 22, 2022
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on how his wife changed his personality
The former Daytona 500 winner then said that his life changed when he met his wife. She taught him to be more outgoing and speak his mind out. Earnhardt credits her massively, for being able to experience new things in life.
“Her whole thing was fighting against the introvert that I was. And trying to get me to get out and experience things more,” he continued.
“The more I got out and experienced things, the more I had shared experiences with people. I had more to say and more to tell.”
HATS OFF, #88! Congratulations to Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his induction to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. A legend behind the wheel. pic.twitter.com/Jt6V3Q6zv9
— Bojangles (@Bojangles) January 21, 2022
Earnhardt went on to say that he’s okay with people not remembering him as ‘just a racing driver’. He acknowledges the fact that some people question his HoF induction in terms of his driving ability. However, being a great sportsperson is more than just being a winner statistically.
“It is totally fine with me that someone may remember me for other things aside from my accolades on the racetrack. Or what I did behind the wheel of a race car,” he added.