Earnhardt and Son closer than
August 19, 1999 - excerpt from NASCAR Online article
In just a matter of months, the relationship
between seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt and his namesake has
risen to the point where the two men are near equals. OK, that's really stretching it a
bit, but the two have shed new light on each other.
"I've got to thank my dad for letting me be my own man," says Dale Earnhardt
Jr., last year's NASCAR Busch Series champion. "He could be calling the shots for me
and answering questions for me, but he's not. He's letting me say what I want to say and
do what I want to do. That's a tribute to him to let me have that kind of freedom.
"We've gotten a lot closer. We talk more, I listen to him more and he listens to me
more. We're doing a lot of things together, personal and business. He understands where
I'm coming from and I understand him, too."
But how does a young son relate to a man who has won so many races and developed such a
powerful business in racing? They say they're still learning the delicate ties that exist
between a racing father-son duo, and how the relationship is never static.
Dale Sr. admits the occasional urge to correct his son, to tell him what to do rather than
give him the means to discover things on his own. But he assumes that's natural.
"I scold him once in a while," Dale Sr. says. "I don't think there's a dad
who doesn't voice his opinion with his son. I have to be careful, though, because I want
him to learn.
"I remember my dad (Ralph, a former NASCAR champion) telling me what to do and what
not to do and I was like, 'Nah.' I'd go do it and learn that's what was true. I know
Dale's not going to believe me until he learns it, so I've tried to give him some freedom,
some latitude, and it's worked out well.
"It's really exciting to watch him, to be a part of it. He's like, 'Don't worry, Dad,
I've got it handled.' I can't tell him anything anymore. He knows what it's all about
What it's about is racing for himself and nobody else. That's what Dale Jr. learned
through his championship season a year ago. While that may be true in principle, like any
son, he wants to impress his dad.
Of course, impressing Dale Sr. and getting him to admit it is not an easy task.
"Until you succeed and do something he's done, or something he's proud of, you never
feel up to par," Dale Jr. says. "I'm not out to match his accomplishments or
anything like that. I want to be competitive. I want to be happy with my team, and I want
to be satisfied with what I'm doing."
Blk3GM's Dale Earnhardt Site was born on
July 26, 1998 and is owned and maintained by Gary Harris. This site is a
tribute to "NASCAR's Greatest Driver" and his up and coming son. We are
not affiliated with any official Team, Sponsors, Media Group or NASCAR. This site is
solely for entertainment purposes. Information and statistic's on this site have
been collected from various NASCAR related sites on the internet, from Winston Cup Scene,
Newspapers, Television and our personal experience at Winston Cup and Busch Grand National
races. All statistics are believed to be accurate at the time they are updated but
cannot be guaranteed.