“I Need To Drink & Smoke Cigarettes” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Says He Raced Better When He Was Able To Blow Off Some Steam

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Can I get a “Dale yeah?”

There might not be a more likable person from the world of NASCAR than Dale Earnhardt Jr. He’s one of the iconic characters when you think of stock car racing, and Dale Jr. has continued to play a critical role in NASCAR even as he’s cut down on the races he competes in.

Now Earnhardt Jr. leans more into the media side of racing, stepping into the broadcast booth for NBC for a while before he recently announced he would be moving over to Amazon Prime Video and Warner Bros. Discovery Sports. He’s also stayed busy with the Dale Jr. Download, a podcast that he’s been a part of since 2013.

It was on that show that Dale opened up about his process when it came to preparing for races, and how when he started racing for Hendrick Motorsports, the racing team tried to get him to change his ways:

“This is not advice. This is bad advice. But this is what I did. I felt like I didn’t run as good or race as good if I didn’t blow off some steam on a Tuesday or Wednesday night.

When I started racing for Hendrick, you know, I tried to clean it up a little bit. They were some of the people in the building saying, ‘Jimmie (Johnson) is in great shape. Look at what he does. You should be doing these things.’ And I’m like, ‘Jimmie is Jimmie.'”

I’m sure he loved being told to be “more like Jimmie.”

As much as Dale didn’t like being told what to do, he apparently tried to be a team player and adapt to the cleaner, more health conscious preparation. However, as he went on to say in the Dale Jr. Download, it didn’t ever translate to better racing, so he concluded that he might just be an “old fashioned” NASCAR driver:

“I’m gonna work on it. I’ll do better. I’m gonna lose some weight, I’m gonna work out. I’m gonna do these new things to try and be in better physical shape and better mental shape. I would abstain from drinking or something for a couple of weeks and the results didn’t change for me.

And then I’d go party with my buddies or something or have friends over on a Tuesday night and we’d damn kick ass on the race weekend. I was like, ‘Maybe I’m just one of the old guards man. I need to drink and smoke cigarettes and go kick ass.”

Drink. Smoke Cigarettes. Kick ass.

That’s the Dale Earnhardt Jr. way…. and I’d say that it served him well.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock