Dale Earnhardt, known as the Intimidator, placed his stamp on Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway. His son Dale Earnhardt Jr. followed in his footsteps, finding victory lane at both tracks multiple times.
There is now a new generation of the Earnhardt family making his debut at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday in the Camping World Truck Series’ Mountain Dew 250.
Jeffrey Earnhardt, son of Kerry Earnhardt, grew up watching the men in his family race cars for a living. He’s now doing the same thing and has worked his way up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. After competing in a few truck races this season, Earnhardt is now preparing for his Superspeedway debut at Talladega.
To help get his name out, Earnhardt has spent the past month in Alabama, speaking to children about fire safety and making the rounds at various civic groups. While he admitted to being a little nervous about the idea of basically living in Alabama for a month leading up to the race, Earnhardt said he’s had fun with the experience.
“At first I wasn’t real sure how it was going to go because I’ve never really done much of it,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it. I’m really glad we did it.”
As for racing at Talladega Superspeedway, Earnhardt said he has mixed emotions entering the race weekend.
“It’s exciting and nervous at the same time,” he said. “I’ve never done it (Superspeedway racing). I’ve played it on the racing simulator. I race Talladega about every night with a bunch of online people. I do good on there or I do decent on there anyway, when I’m not getting wrecked or wrecking somebody.”
In respect to the wrecks, the real experience may not be much different than the video game. Talladega is known for spectacular crashes.
“I think it’s going to be a learning experience,” Earnhardt said. “The biggest thing at Talladega is just getting people to work with you. You can be dead last and you can be in the front in three laps. It’s a matter of who you get to work with you and who you make alliances with. It all comes down to the last lap and who stays out of the big wreck.”
The young Earnhardt said he’s gotten a lot of racing advice from his father, who also races. But when it comes to learning he’ll take advice wherever he can get it.
“My dad’s been a big help,” Earnhardt said. “My dad’s always been there from the start and really taught me a lot about being patient and just doing what your car’s capable of. That’s really the biggest thing I’ve learned in racing. If you’re patient and there at the end, you’re going to make yourself look like a lot better driver.
“A lot of other veterans in the series have helped a lot. I’ve talked to Austin Dillon; he’s been a big help to me at the races. (I take advice) from wherever I can get it. If someone’s willing to help me, I’m willing to take the advice and hear them out.”