“His Collarbone Was Busted”: Dale Earnhardt Jr Reveals the Intimidator’s Insane Feat That Really Shows Who the 7-Time Champion Was as a Person

Published 08/25/2023, 2:19 PM EDT

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Countless legends have come and gone through the race tracks of NASCAR, but only a few have withstood the test of time. Prime among them is the late great Dale Earnhardt Sr. The 7-time Cup Series champion changed the face of the sport with his strong-as-a-wall attitude and insane skill behind the wheel. Reminiscing on the hero’s life and career, Dale Earnhardt Jr and his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller sat down to read a 4 decades old article that Dale Sr had himself written in his rookie year.

Going over pieces of the past on The Dale Jr. Download podcast, the siblings shared a laugh over the character that their father displayed off the tracks.

The article portrays the other side of the “Intimidator”


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Reading the article as part of the “Becoming Earnhardt” series, Dale Jr narrated excerpts from a piece that was published back in 1979. He quickly reached a part that he was really looking forward to and went over what Dale Sr had written about his life in the aftermath of the rookie year crash in Pocono. Leafing through the archive, he read, “I recently moved to a place on Lake Norman. And that’s been keeping me busy. I’m really intrigued by the place. I’ve never lived on water before. And this is a big lake. Over 500 miles of shoreline. It’s nice to jump in the boat at sunrise and cruise around. Maybe do a little fishing. It feels good, smells good.”

Junior beamed with pride reading his dad’s grit to jump out of racing and quickly move on to something else that he enjoyed. Feeling the reflection of his father’s personality through the words, he affirmed the article saying, “See that lets me know that he is completely involved in writing these, because that little paragraph right there is all him.” 

When we realize that Dale Sr was experiencing life in all positivity whilst recovering from the injuries of a severe accident, amazement strikes us just like it did the Earnhardt siblings.

Watch This Story: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Sister Mourns Loss of Companion of Sixteen Years


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It takes more than broken collarbones to stop Dale Earnhardt


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More often than not, guts are what make a NASCAR champion. And Dale Earnhardt had the strongest will of them all. In April of 1979, he won his first Winston Cup race in Bristol. Back then, Dale Sr was only the 4th rookie in NASCAR’s history to win a race. Driving for Rod Osterlund at the time, the young driver was already beginning to turn heads his way. But these achievements came at a cost. In the same season, he suffered a crash that left him with two broken collarbones, a concussion, and severe bruises. 

The experiences at Lake Norman that Dale Sr had shared were after this accident. Surprisingly, the “place on Lake Norman” that Dale Sr talked about was bought with the help of Osterlund. His affinity for the lake can be seen in his own words that go, ‘The place has been keeping me busy too. We’ve got 900 things I want to do. 900 things I’ve got to do and 900 things I can’t do.’


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The time that the legend got to spend here must’ve gone a long way in helping him recover. He returned to the tracks in 1980 and won his first Winston Cup at age 29. As we ponder over the persona of Dale Sr, let’s hope to hear more of his words in the voice of his prodigy, Dale Earnhardt Jr.


Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam


One take at a time

Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal