It’s always a big weekend in racing, as the driver’s return to the track to compete once again for what a lot of them spend their whole career trying to achieve… a victory at the iconic Daytona International Speedway.
And one driver who’s no stranger to wins in Florida?
Though he’s now retired from racing, he’s still pretty active in the sport, and you can often find him in the NBC broadcast booth or just promoting the sport from the track. This year, he’s mainly in town to promote his new vodka brand, High Rock vodka.
He recently stopped by The Jim Rome Show to talk about how much he misses racing and what he loved about running the Daytona 500… and it wasn’t all Florida sunshine, rainbows and checkered flags:
“I was always bottled up with nerves and anxiety. Probably not super pleasant to be around, to be honest with you. Just, you know… and it’s regrettable to be honest with you.
I really wish I would have enjoyed the moment more than I did, but I was just so, you know, I lived with this fear of failure every single minute of the day.”
It’s hard to imagine someone with so much talent being that nervous, and it’s something I’m sure a lot of us can relate to, but you have to imagine the pressure he felt to be the best as Dale Earnhardt’s son was incredibly intense and almost unbearable.
He says all he could think about most days at the track was winning… which is obviously important (and the whole entire point of racing), but at the same time, he barely ever even enjoyed the most exciting race days of the year because of it:
“You want to have a good result, and that’s really what matters at the end of the day, is how you did… and whether you satisfied this expectation that you had, or everybody else had for you. And so, that was overriding emotion all the time.”
Of course, once he actually got in the car and was able to do what he does best, all of that melted away:
“But that said, it was still amazing, it was like riding a lightening bolt.
It was a great time being strapped into that car and feeling like you were in control, and sometimes when you weren’t, realizing how wild the situation could become if you got upside down at a place like Daytona.”
He posted a tweet earlier flying into Daytona today, and now, says he would give anything to strap back into the race car one more time:
“I’ll tell you this, looking out the window in that tweet of us landing, my whole feeling today, I retired at the end of 2017… I’m so jealous now of these drivers.”