Racecar driver Earnhardt was at the top of his game—until a minor crash resulted in a concussion that would eventually end his 18-year career. In his only authorized book, Dale shares the inside track on his life and work, reflects on NASCAR, the loss of his dad, and his future as a broadcaster, businessperson, and family man.
It was a seemingly minor crash at Michigan International Speedway in June 2016 that ended the day early for NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. What he didn’t know was that it would also end his driving for the year. He’d dealt with concussions before, but no two are the same. Recovery can be brutal, and lengthy.
When Dale retired from professional stock car racing in 2017, he walked away from his career as a healthy man. But for years, he had worried that the worsening effects of multiple racing-related concussions would end not only his time on the track but his ability to live a full and happy life.
Torn between a race-at-all-costs culture and the fear that something was terribly wrong, Earnhardt tried to pretend that everything was fine, but the private notes about his escalating symptoms that he kept on his phone reveal a vicious cycle: suffering injuries on Sunday, struggling through the week, then recovering in time to race again the following weekend. In this candid reflection, Earnhardt opens up for the first time about:
Steering his way to the final checkered flag of his storied career proved to be the most challenging race and most rewarding finish of his life.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is an American professional stock car racing driver, champion team owner, businessman, television analyst for NBC Sports Group, and inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He won a record 15-straight NASCAR Most Popular Driver awards from 2003 to 2017, consecutive NASCAR Busch Series Championships in 1998 and 1999, and the prestigious Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling Racing to the Finish and Driver #8, as well as the children's books Buster's Trip to Victory Lane and Buster Gets Back on Track. Dale lives in Mooresville, North Carolina, with his wife, Amy, and their two daughters, Isla and Nicole.
Ryan McGee, an ESPN senior writer, is a five-time National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year and four-time Sports Emmy winner. In 2007 he wrote the script for the documentary Dale, about Earnhardt’s father, narrated by Paul Newman. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Erica, and their daughter, Tara.