- • NASCAR author for ESPN.com
• 2009, 2013 NMPA Writer of the Year
• More than 25 years expertise overlaying motorsports
AVONDALE, Ariz. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. has anticipated for months that his closing NASCAR Cup race would make him really feel unhappy, however he has tried to not get too emotional on his final go to to varied tracks.
He is beginning to really feel the emotion, although, as his full-time Cup profession will come to an finish in lower than 10 days with the season finale Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I feel like I almost need to apologize because I’ve got a pregnant wife, I’m retiring and I just feel like I’m going to break down any minute,” Earnhardt stated Friday earlier than apply at Phoenix Raceway for the next-to-last race of the season.
“I feel like every answer that I have has some sort of sad undertones and very emotional temperament, but … it’s starting to really sink in.”
Earnhardt, who’s 41, made his Cup debut in May 1999 and has two Daytona 500 victories amongst his 26 profession wins in 629 profession begins. The son of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt Sr., the Hendrick Motorsports driver introduced in April that he’ll finish his full-time Cup profession after this season.
Earnhardt has gained the game’s hottest driver award for 14 consecutive years. As his profession is about to shut, sponsors have began to launch tribute movies to his profession and there have been many questions on his profession and his father, who died within the 2001 Daytona 500.
“[My wife] Amy being pregnant, bless her heart, she is tearing up at the drop of a hat,” Earnhardt stated. “All these videos and all these things that our partners are creating, this content has just been incredible. It makes you feel so good in your heart [and with] the comments from fans.” Although Earnhardt’s nephew Jeffrey Earnhardt will proceed to race for a small, underfunded staff subsequent season, there can be no Earnhardt in a championship-contending trip for the primary time since 1979.
“It’s going to be sad to think there’s not an Earnhardt on the racetrack in my family, from my dad or Dale, … just going to be really strange,” stated Earnhardt’s sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, in September. “I grew up with that and watching that.
“I do not know. Maybe we are able to speak about that after the very fact. I feel will probably be unhappy. I feel Dale goes to be unhappy.”
Tears can be shed.
“I will cry quite a bit,” Earnhardt Miller said. “I’d as effectively simply pack principally tissues in my suitcase. I simply know I will cry simply because at most occasions when there’s something that is historic or entails my household or one thing coming to an finish or one thing altering, that’s simply what I do.
“I don’t know how it’s going to be. It’s certainly going to be surreal at the moment.”
Earnhardt Miller can be stored busy with all the chums, household and sponsor representatives who plan to attend. As for the motive force, he will should attempt to exit and compete.
“It is more than you can process, and I’m sure that Homestead is just going to be like the cork coming out of the bottle,” Earnhardt stated. “I am fortunate that Amy goes to be there; I am fortunate my household can be there and my staff.
“I’ll have a lot badist, and I need to badist them. It’s going to be emotional for them and our followers. I do not know actually easy methods to describe it, however I hope that you just guys do not thoughts it being a bit bit heavy.”