The Internet is absolutely full of Dale Earnhardt Jr. content. But this isn’t anything like that.
This is just two dudes not talkin’ racin’ at Michigan International Speedway on behalf of Goodyear. I asked Dale Earnhardt Jr. a bunch of regular guy questions and he was great.
I asked him zero NASCAR questions, except for my conspiracy question about his retirement. He gave SOLID fantasy football analysis – you can tell by the depth of his answer, a detailed breakdown of what rounds you consider what positions, that whoever he is drafting against in the NBC Sports fantasy football league is in trouble. From there, my questions got a little more esoteric. Dale Jr. told me his preferred email client, his favorite app, and talked about his high school soccer career.
Me – What app do you get on 1st thing in the morning?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Probably Twitter. I feel like I have to get on there to figure out what’s been going on in the news and get updates on what everybody’s thinking about that day. Especially being in broadcasting you have to find new ways to consume information. To see what the drivers are doing, what the teams are doing, what the story is for the day.
Paul Eide – Is Twitter your favorite app?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – My favorite app is probably Pandora. Pandora or Spotify.
Me – What’s your #1 Pandora station?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Man, I don’t know if I have one. I have so many different styles of music that I listen to. And it changes every two or three months.
Me – What’d you pull up to Michigan International Speedway listening to today?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – The band I’m listening to the most right now is The Dangerous Summer, a pop punk band.
Me – Fantasy football question. If you have the number one pick who do you take — Todd Gurley or LeVeon Bell?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Shoot, I don’t know…(long pause) you have to go running back. Because there’s not a lot of every down backs out there, that are going to get you consistent yardage and points. I think you’ve gotta go running back first round, maybe even second round depending on what’s out there, is a good play. Because you can find good consistency deep in the wide receiver pool, and you wanna take a quarterback down in the 6th round or later. Maybe even take a tight end before you take a quarterback. There’s a lot of good decent quarterbacks.
Me – How many fantasy football leagues are you in?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Just two this year.
Me – 12 team? 10 team is like kid stuff.
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Yeah, 12 team. I was in more league but I backed down a little but. I’ve got a little girl and I got this new job (for NBC) there’s so much going on in my life I’m thinking, maybe I need to chill out a little bit on the fantasy football.
Me – Speaking of that you’re a team owner, racing legend, NBC broadcast guy; what does your email inbox look like? Do you dread looking at it every morning?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – No, not at all. It’s not bad at all. I don’t have a lot of spam, I don’t get a lot of junk email. The ones I get are usually pretty important — maybe 6 to 12 a day.
Me – That’s it? Really?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Yeah! For real.
Me – What’s your email client? GMail?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – No!
Me – Outlook (befuddled)??
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – It’s not.
Me – Ummm…
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – It’s an Exchange account. Yeah, it’s a personal server.
Me – Do you get up super early in the morning? Or, do you stay up super late?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Well with the little girl now we get up at 7 when she gets up. She pretty much gets up at 7 on the dot pretty much. She goes down around 8 or 8:30, and we’re pretty tired so we get into bed early.
Me – Soccer question. You played soccer in high school right?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Yes. Just one year.
Me – Junior year? Senior year?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Freshman.
Me – Personal record for juggles?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Zero. I was terrible.
Me – Really, zero?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Yeah. Zero.
Me – I thought you were going to say something like 37.
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – No. I was not very good. I was terrible.
Me – Last question is a Dale Earnhardt Jr. retirement conspiracy question. You grow up in the sport, you are exposed to racing for your entire life, you race in the Cup circuit for 20+ years. Its the longest regular season of any sport at nine months. You’re constantly going and going and going. You get in your 40s and you’re just tired of it. Concussion situation happens – its the perfect transition out of the sport. 15 time winner of the NASCAR Most Popular Driver award. Makes NASCAR look good because of the CTE concerns, makes you look good because you ride off into the sunset, transition into NBC Sports. Confirm or deny.
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – What am I confirming? I thought you were going to hit me with a conspiracy?
Me – That you retired because you were tired of it, you’ve been doing this for 40+ years!
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Oh. I don’t know, I mean the injuries were probably the main concern for getting out of the car. I didn’t want to sit at home, I wanted to keep going to the track. I needed a job. I wasn’t going to just come and hang out and be in everybody’s the way. So being in the broadcast booth was an option. I don’t need to work because I did a good job saving my money. But I just love being here. I’m here for the right reasons.
Me – Did you know that Rick Allen won the decathalon back to back in the Big 8?
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – I did. I did.
Me – Has he challenged you to a basketball game yet? He’s very tall.
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – No. I heard he’s not that awesome in basketball.
Me – He’s better than Jeff Burton.
Dale Earnhardt. Jr. – Yeah, I imagine he might be.
Me – Dale, I appreciate it.