Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Talks Racing After Retirement
Like a lot of his fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has dabbled in other forms of motorsports, including the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, where he finished second in 2001, racing with his father, and third in 2004.
But Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, Earnhardt said it’s unlikely he’ll do any more sports car racing after he retires from NASCAR at the end of this season.
“I don’t think I’ll be at the 24 Hours of Daytona or anything like that,” Earnhardt said at Texas. “Back when we did those things it felt easier to do those one-offs, but that series is so competitive today, you just don’t come in there as a hobby and have a little fun. It’s just too competitive. It would be like one of them trying to come over here and just flirt with NASCAR a little bit.”
And racing for an entire 24 hours is its own challenge, requiring great trust with and confidence in one’s teammates.
“As far as working to run a 24-hour race, you want to do it with people that you know,” said Earnhardt. “I drove for Corvette and that was really nerve-wracking because you have teammates that I don’t really know that well and I’m responsible for the car when I’m in it and man, I don’t want to be the guy that screws this up for everybody.”
That’s totally unlike NASCAR, where it’s one driver per car, all race long.
“It’s a completely different experience,” Earnhardt said. “So, if I were to run in the 24 hours again, it would have to be with drivers that I’m friends with and I just don’t know whether that would materialize. It’s really unlikely.”
That said, Earnhardt left the door wide open for surprising his loyal fan base at some point in the future.
“We’ve owned a Late Model team since 2000, as far as I can remember; maybe even farther back than that,” said Earnhardt. “I think that it would really be a lot of fun to slip into Hickory one night just for a regular show. Whether that will happen or not, I don’t really know. But it’s fun to think about and another whole thing to do.”