Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Fear of “Looking Like a Damn Loser” Put a Damper on His Highly Anticipated Return

Dale Earnhardt Jr, NASCAR legend and twice-crowned Daytona winner, roared back into the limelight during the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Bristol Motor Speedway. But the return wasn’t just about speed and laps. It was about facing fears, conquering anxieties, and yes, fire – real literal fire. 

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But before the fire and the laps came the nail-biting qualifying round. Memories of a 30th-place qualifying at Martinsville haunted Dale. The sheer possibility of not qualifying weighed heavy. However, a swift lap at 120.596 mph changed the narrative, placing him 15th on the starting grid.

Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Hidden Battle with Pre-Race Anxiety


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During a recent episode of the ‘Dale Jr Download’ podcast, Dale Earnhardt Jr opened up about the nervousness and anxiety he experiences before every race. In this vulnerable moment, listeners got a glimpse into Dale’s mindset and how he overcomes these feelings to enjoy racing, particularly at Bristol.

Mike Davis asked Dale, “So I was gonna ask you Dale, you know what exactly is The source of the anxiety and I think you did just answer your fear is not succeeding but your I guess I’m wondering is that In the back of your mind. Are you afraid of the wreck? Are you afraid of not qualifying?”

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“Looking like a clown Mike. Looking like a damn loser.” Junior exclaimed. 

Mike continued the conversation, noting that Dale had left an impressive mark on a particular race by leading 47 laps. He emphasized how Dale’s anxiety seemed to hold him back, even when he had the talent and a great car. Mike encouraged Dale to imagine the possibilities if he could find confidence in himself. But that’s not all.

Ever thought racing’s hottest moments could be, well, literally hot? Dive deeper to see how Junior rose from the ashes.


WATCH THIS STORY: Denny Hamlin Accuses Joe Gibbs Grandson of Invoking Dale Earnhardt’s Tragedy on Ryan Blaney No Place To Hide


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Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Rollercoaster Night at Bristol

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The race at Bristol itself was a heady mix of highs and lows. An electrical issue transformed into a mini-inferno right by Dale Earnhardt Jr’s feet during the last 30 laps. A charred uniform leg and a close call with blisters later, Earnhardt couldn’t help but quip about his fiery experience.

JR Motorsports owner, now a Class of 2021 NASCAR Hall of Famer, showed he hadn’t lost his touch. Clocking an impressive 47 laps in the lead, he dominated much of the evening. But then, disaster struck. A sizzling electrical issue sent flames licking near his feet, causing him to settle for a 30th-place DNF finish. Yet, Junior emerged with a chuckle, saying, “I didn’t cause no problems tonight for nobody.”


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Race cars and resilience, doubt, and determination, Dale Earnhardt Jr is a mosaic of it all. As fans cheer, reminisce, and eagerly await his next move, one thing is certain – Dale’s journey is far from over. 

Author: ZeroToHero

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