Being the son of the late, great Dale Earnhardt, I’m sure Jr. has accumulated a ton of wild, cool, and inspiring stories throughout his 49 years. With that being said, he recently sat down with Kenny Wallace on his Kenny Conversation podcast and discussed a story about qualifying late in his NASCAR career.
And long story short, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows…
He told Wallace:
“Me and Amy were not married yet, we might’ve been, I can’t remember it was 2015, ’16, or ’17, those years. The last couple years of my career. We’re in Richmond, and I feel like I’ve qualified 23rd for eight weeks in a row… it felt like I had this sort of rider’s block, I could not get past that sort of mediocre, less than mediocre performance in qualifying and it was bugging me and I don’t know why we couldn’t do better.
And we’re in Richmond, I’d taken home to think about it… But I qualified 22nd or 23rd, and went back to the bus and walked back into the bathroom and shut the bathroom door and cried. But I didn’t know what else to do. Amy come back there and she don’t know why I’m upset about this it’s qualifying. You know, you do this all your life, you know in your heart you believe you’re good at it.
You want to believe you’re one of the best at it, and no matter what you’re doing, and no matter how you try to approach it, it’s the same result. I never really cried over results in my life, but that’ll tell you right there, that one day in Richmond, that qualifying effort was all I could take.
It’d been building and building week in and week out. I don’t know why, I’ve had race results that have hurt your heart, but never did I get out of the car and cry, or go home and cry over it, but for whatever reason that day I was just at my wits end, and only qualifying can do that to you.”
Needless to say, the story Dale Jr. shares is a testament to the stress drivers go through behind the scenes week in and week out during the grueling NASCAR season.