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“He Actually Hated Me” – Dale Jr Defends His Late Father’s Legacy as He Publicly Trashes Geoff Bodine’s Shocking Accusation

Published 02/14/2024, 2:25 AM EST

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Rivalries are a big part of NASCAR, but perhaps none were as heated as the one shared by Dale Earnhardt Sr and Geoff Bodine. The two drivers would often collide on the track and wreck each other, forcing NASCAR to take stringent steps. However, many felt that Bodine may have let go of his animosity towards the intimidation. How true is that? Dale Earnhardt Jr strongly refuted that claim in a recent episode of The Dale Jr Download podcast.

Geoff Bodine recently released a book titled ‘All of It: Daytona 500 Champion Tells the Rest of the Story’ in which he wrote about his long and illustrious career. The 74-year-old is said to be proud of what he has produced, and as per NASCAR, it may have been written by him, but the book was not for him.

Dale Earnhardt Jr seeks context behind Geoff Bodine’s wild claim

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The chapter that intrigued Dale Earnhardt Jr. the most was the one about his father. NASCAR fans know all about the intense rivalry that The Intimidator and Bodine shared on track. Things got so intense between the two of them that they both often went and urged race control to penalize the other. Bodine even claimed earlier that NASCAR’s favoritism towards the 7-time Cup Series champion forced the others to drive aggressively and expect to get away with it.

But Bodine was quite kind to his fierce rival in the chapter about the legendary driver of the #3. It was just the last line of the chapter that struck a discordant note with Dale Earnhardt Jr. “There’s a chapter on my dad called The Intimidator where he speaks really well of dad. He shares his version of events, but he doesn’t take it too far in his criticism of Dad, and he ends the chapter with comments of how Dad impacted the sport in an incredible way. But the very last sentence of that chapter is, “And I found out after Dale’s death that he actually hated me.” That’s the last sentence of the chapter. I’m like, where’s the context? Who told you that?”

“Maybe I could argue that point. I don’t believe that to be true. Did Dad have an opinion of Geoff? Yes. Did he like everything he did on the race track? No. But after 20 years of not racing each other, I’m sure that he didn’t hate him,” Dale Earnhardt Jr said in what was a passionate rant.

Of course, it’s difficult for Dale Earnhardt Jr to believe that his father had resentment for Geoff Bodine. After all, the two families used to hang out together by the lake. The 49-year-old recalled those good ol’ days as well when speaking about the two legendary NASCAR racers to drive his point home.

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The two NASCAR rivals’ family trips to the lake house

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It turns out that before the rivalry and animosity, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Geoff Bodine were close friends. So close that their families would spend a lot of time together. Junior recalled going to the lake house and playing with his sister and Bodine’s kids.

“And Geoff shares some stories earlier in this chapter about how they would come over to the lakehouse, me and Kelley and Geoff’s kids would play together and swim in the late and all that, and dad and Jeff would hang out, have dinners. So I mean, they started off friendly, as most driver-driver relationships do,” the 49-year-old added.

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We may never get to know if The Intimidator’s feelings of animosity towards Geoff Bodine subsided towards the end of his life. The two refuting claims are all fans have to base their theories on, but that is part of the intrigue of the sport.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta