“He Was Tough on You”- 2003 Cup Champ Details Young Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Miseries Around His Dad

Published 07/05/2023, 7:28 PM EDT

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There have been many father-son duos in the history of NASCAR, where a father’s legacy is being carried forward by his son. One such popular father-son duo is Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. But unlike other father-son relationships, Earnhardt Jr’s relationship with his father probably started very late. In fact, not until he started racing. 

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Even though racing might have helped Earnhardt Jr come close to his father, Dale Earnhardt was always tough on his son. On a recent podcast episode, Dale Earnhardt Jr talked to an old friend, Matt Kenseth, who took a stroll down memory lane and shared some interesting “Dale Earnhardt Sr and Jr.” incidents.

From what Matt Kenseth revealed, it appeared that Dale Earnhardt was definitely a hard-to-impress dad.

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How Did Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr Become Friends So Early in Their Careers?

On the latest podcast, “The Dale Jr. Download,” Matt Kenseth reunites with his old friend Dale Earnhardt Jr. During the conversation, Kenseth and Earnhardt Jr talked about a lot of things, but the most interesting part is when Kenseth revealed how Dale Earnhardt was back then.

Kenseth and Earnhardt Jr. have been friends since earlier in their careers, so he knows Earnhardt Jr.’s relationship with his father very well.

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When Dale asked Kenseth, “What do you know who instigated the first conversation[between them] ?” Matt Kenseth revealed that it was him that started the first conversation with Earnhardt Jr. Kenseth said, “Most likely me. Because the only person I ever met that is more shy than me is you. Yeah.” Junior agreed that he used to be really shy back then. 

Kenseth continued describing how he met Earnhardt Jr, “And so I think we had that in common. And you know, I think both starting at the same year, I kind of understood for whatever reason, in a way, out of the game. They can only ever totally understand it if they’re not in your shoes.” 

 

After Kenseth said this, Earnhardt Jr went forward, revealing that Kenseth was a huge Dale Earnhardt fan. Earnhardt Jr. said, describing his side of the story about their friendship story, “Did you like dad? You were a die heart fan, weren’t you? So I thought that was cool. And I thought that was like a good end for me too, like, hey man, I can talk to this guy. He likes my dad. He thinks dad’s cool.”

Kenseth also mentioned the times when he felt Dale Earnhardt was so tough on Earnhardt Jr.

Watch This Story: Dale Earnhardt Jr & Fans Slam the NASCAR Drivers for Their Embarrassing “Logjam” Incident in Chicago

Matt Kenseth remembers the time he experienced Dale Sr being a strict dad to Dale Jr

Taking a trip down memory lane, Kenseth shared the first time he saw Dale Earnhardt being tough on his friend Earnhardt Jr. Kenseth, referring to Dale Earnhardt, said, “But man, he’s tough on you. Remember that night, and after qualifying in Atlanta, we’re going to do that QVC show. We went to your dad’s home. Remember that?”  

He further added, “I remember that I felt bad for that day. So we walk in the motorhome, and the thing I, not that really knew your dead that well, but the thing I, you know, you’ve said a million times I always commanded the room right.”

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Talking about the commanding behavior of Dale Earnhardt that Kenseth experienced when he went home with Earnhardt Jr, the retired NASCAR racer said, “Like he told everybody where to sit, what they were going to eat, what they were going to like tell you. Right. Like the whole thing, like you know, so you walk in and start taking your shoes off. Leave your shoes on; carpets are the cheapest thing in my motorhome. Sit down over.” 

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There were so many interviews where Earnhardt Jr himself confirmed how hard-to-impress-man his father was. But coming from an old friend, the story of Dale Earnhardt and Jr feels different.

Remembering that day at Dale Earnhardt’s home, Kenseth went ahead with the story. He said, “We’re on the pole in Atlanta, and that was with the Bush cars, and you could, we could get you could run wide open most time. And he’s like he’s like. I had a job in Paul. I was like, oh, thanks. And he’s like, did you run wide open? And I was like, I was like, yeah, I was able to make it round or wide open.”

Dale Earnhardt was surely a tough dad, and maybe that toughness is what helped Earnhardt Jr achieve the level of success he has today. 

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Dale Earnhardt Jr Discloses How a “Video Game” Pioneered NASCAR’s $50-Million-Worth Chicago Dream

Even though Dale Earnhardt might have been a strict parent to Earnhardt Jr, it prepared him to handle the legacy that he built in NASCAR. Look at Earnhardt Jr now, carrying the legacy like a proud son. Talking about Earnhardt Jr, we have seen him sharing a lot of details about the Chicago track before the race. Do you think it might have helped drivers in some way to understand the track, coming from a Legend himself?

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Written by:

Shanu Singh

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Shanu Singh is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. With a passion for motorsports, he has been covering the thrilling world of NASCAR for a while now. Known for his expertise and insightful reporting, Shanu has a keen eye for the details that help him deliver accurate NASCAR updates to fans.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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