NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired from the profession in 2017. And five years later, he still has absolutely no interest in returning to the race track.
Instead, the 15-time Most Popular Driver has moved on to become a NASCAR broadcaster, and he quite likes his new gig. But last week, he had the privilege of taking one of the new Next Gen cars for a spin around the world-famous Daytona track. And that had people wondering if Earnhardt was itching to get back to racing
But unfortunately for Earnhardt Jr. fans, his answer was a hard “no.”
“You know, I think that it’s a long story,” he said at a press conference. “But I’m old, 47 years old. And take a guy like William Byron and he’s young, he’s a risk-taker, and I’m done taking risks.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is Putting his Family First
As the former number 88 driver shared, he’s a family man now. And because of that, he has a newfound understanding of his mortality. He also has no interest in making his wife and daughter worry about losing him in a crash.
“You know,” Earnhardt Jr. continued. “I’ve got two little girls that I love being around. And I put my wife through a lot to race. You know, half of my career that she was with me. She put everything in her role on pause for eight or 10 years while we did all that, and I just don’t know that at 47 years old I would be willing to take the necessary risks out on the race track that a young guy like William Byron would be willing to do.”
Earnhardt also admitted that he sometimes wonders why older drivers continue to race well beyond their prime, but he assumes it has something to do with their “risk assessment.” He believes that some guys just have more of a “willingness” to put themselves in “very dangerous situations time and time again.”
“We used to say that when young guys would come in and they would have this amazing raw speed,” he added. “We used to say ‘well they haven’t hit anything hard yet’ and that sure slows you down.”
But while Dale Earnhardt Jr. has no desire to jump back into the race circuit, he still hopes to continue testing out Next Gen cars because getting a feel for the new technology helps him with his current job in the NBC broadcast booth.