“Bullseye on Your Back” – Dale Earnhardt Jr Reveals the Two Sides of Being the Peoples Hero

Published 09/09/2023, 1:31 PM EDT

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Years after his retirement, Dale Earnhardt Jr is still one of the most popular personalities in NASCAR. It is to Junior’s credit that he kept himself relevant to his adoring fans, thanks to social media. But there was a time when people only knew him as the son of Dale Earnhardt, and not as the talented racer and social media personality that he is today.

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In a recent episode of The Dale Jr Download podcast, Junior and his co-host Mike Davis were reading questions fans had for the former Cup Series driver. They came across a question that took Earnhardt Jr back several years, to a time when he used to be a fierce racer with a huge point to prove.

Dale Earnhardt Jr Recalls One of His First Celebrity Moments


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Being a famous personality might sound cool, but it’s quite exhausting. The glory that most of us associate with fame is really just an added pressure, adding to the many worries that most people have about life. When it comes to an athlete like Dale Earnhardt Jr, it sometimes just becomes a massive burden.

A fan asked Junior what it was like when he first saw himself on the cover of a magazine. For the most part, his answer was something everyone would imagine. Junior said he found the experience quite cool as he had grown up watching his sister collect magazines with pictures of men she’d admired.


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So he was exposed to magazine covers and the value they held quite early in his life. So when it was his turn to be on the cover, he couldn’t be happier.

“It was cool. You know I grew up in a house my sister would get the magazines with all the heartthrobs on the cover and all that and you’re exposed early in your life to like, covers of magazines and the celebrity factor of that or whatever, the cool factor of that,” he said.

However, Junior added that the drawback to being famous was that things can get quite extreme and damaging to someone’s mental health. “But at the same time, it’s like, damn! Now you got a bullseye on your back, you know. They’re putting you on the front page. Now you got a lot of attention that you don’t necessarily know you want,” the 48-year-old added.

Being the son of one of the greatest of all time was always going to be challenging. Pair that up with being as popular as Dale Jr. It just put that added pressure on his shoulders.

Another man who had a legendary father and has a lot of hype to live up to is professional wrestler Cody Rhodes. Rhodes is the son of the late great Dusty Rhodes and today he is one of the most popular men in the WWE.

Curious Dale Jr Enquires About Another Sporting Family


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Rhodes began his mainstream wrestling career with the WWE. He won quite some accolades, like the Tag Team titles and the Intercontinental championship. He subsequently left the company for other productions like AEW, TNA, ROH, and NJPW.

It is popular knowledge that the Rhodes family is a wrestling dynasty that produced many great athletes over the years. Being a wrestling fan, Dale Jr. was curious about how his family reunions went. This led to Cody revealing an unknown fact about his late great-father.

“My dad was the master at keeping the family together. He was a mess in a lot of other areas, you know. But as… keeping the family together, he was the centerpiece. Everybody wanted to get towards him. So for me, I’m the colder, more logical distant. I don’t have the same warmth he had,” the American Nightmare added.


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Dusty Rhodes had a lot of flaws, but there can be no question that he was one of the greats when it came to action inside the squared circle. In his personal time, as per Cody, Dusty was a great family man and cared about everyone. He truly was a legend in the world of wrestling and he will go down in the history books as one of the greats.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh


One take at a time

Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. He started his journey as a motorsports fan with Moto GP and Formula One, before gravitating towards NASCAR a few years back. The high-octane nature of stock car racing paired with the racecraft on display drew him into the sport.
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