Dale Earnhardt Jr. Makes Surprise Appearance at Grand Ole Opry to ‘Raise the Curtain’

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. The Grand Ole Opry? This is the NASCAR/Country Music mashup that we love to see!

While he isn’t the young guy zipping around the track anymore, Dale Jr. has traded out his helmet visor for a pair of sensible glasses. His driving suit replaced by a button-down shirt. The NASCAR legend took a trip down to Opryland Drive recently.

While he didn’t take the stage or pick a guitar, the Grand Ole Opry found something for him to do. Earnhardt had the honor of raising the curtain on the famous stage. That’s like the next best thing to actually performing at the Opry. Thankfully, the moment was caught on camera for the official record.

Check it out below.

The NASCAR driver is not an amateur when it comes to the country music scene. He has spent more than enough time in Nashville to make himself familiar with the industry. Raising the curtain for the Friday night performances, that’s a big-time honor.

While the pandemic put the Opry out of commission for a bit. Friday night performances have been a staple for decades at the legendary venue. Of course, the list of country music superstars that have performed there is endless.

Now, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have his very own Grand Ole Opry story. That’s pretty cool. Perhaps it will be a fun bit of trivia further down the road. One artist that has performed at the Opry and has a close connection with Earnhardt is Cole Swindell.

Earnhardt Jr. and Swindell Connect Over Personal Struggles

Part of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s life story and career is the tragedy of his father’s death. Earnhardt Sr. and his death are a huge piece of NASCAR history and lore. There isn’t a fan of the sport that doesn’t hold him in high esteem.

Of course, Jr. has always honored his father’s memory the best way he can. It’s been over 20 years since the horrible accident. However, it was this year when the former driver heard a Cole Swindell song that touched him personally.

You Should Be Here is one of Swindell’s top songs. It is a reflection on his dad passing away and living life after the fact. It has touched many hearts. In fact, Swindell performed that very song in 2016 on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Earnhardt like the song so much, he reached out to Swindell.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Reached Out to Cole Swindell About Losing His Father

Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t usually contact the artists of his favorite songs. However, when he heard You Should Be Here he just had to talk to Cole. Swindell appreciated it as well.

“That was one of the collect things of my career is Dale reaching out to me, and knowing that he’s reaching out because of his dad, which my dad was a fan of and I’m a fan of,” Swindell explained.

With a big heart like his, Dale Earnhardt Jr. can raise the curtain at the Opry any time he wants.