NASCAR legend, Dale Earnhardt Jr., joins racing stars Brian and Hailie Deegan this week on their PodcastOne show, The Deegans. During the interview, Earnhardt details his unexpected journey to becoming one of the top NASCAR drivers, including a retelling of a crash he faced at twelve years old that almost ended his career. Plus, Earnhardt opens up about his relationship with his late father, the infamous Dale Earnhardt Sr., and expands on the current state of NASCAR and its future. He notes that NASCAR is ready for a female champion, and says the entire sport would see success if Hailie Deegan, competing in her first NASCAR race in February, is the first to be that champion. Below is an excerpt from the episode, available now on PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts.
Ready for Hailie to Win a Race
Deegan: “Do you think NASCAR is ready for a female champion? A girl to come in and win races?”
Earnhardt: “There is a large group of people in our sport that have been waiting for a long time for a very successful run by a female racecar driver. You know, we’ve had some opportunities and we’ve had some great personalities come into the sport that we’d hoped were going to be that - and I hate to put a lot of pressure on Hailie [Deegan], but the fact of the matter is that she’s an incredible personality, she’s a lot of fun, she’s a hard racer, she’s already proven she’s willing to do what it takes and get down in there and get her hands dirty. So, she’s put herself in a position where a lot of people are hoping that she gets these opportunities to move through the ranks and have success and wins. I don’t know from experience how hard that can be, but watching my sister race and understanding the challenges she went through, then working with Danica [Patrick] when she drove for us…I have to think about what that experience must be like. I would love it if we had winning females in our series – in all our series – if Hailie goes out there and wins…our sport’s going to succeed big time because of that.”
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