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Junior: Retirement Emotions Have Not Kicked In

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 2 2017

Fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is retiring from full-time racing after the season, says the emotions of the retirement have not set in yet. (RacinToday/HHP by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. admits he’s allowed thoughts of his final event this season to creep into his mind, but he still doesn’t know what he’ll miss about being a race car driver.

“If I knew what I was going to miss, it would be more emotional and harder to deal with,” Earnhardt said Friday during preparations for Sunday’s Bojangles Southern 500, “but the fact that I’m not quite sure exactly what is going to be the most difficult part about it it’s really not set in yet.

“I haven’t really had any emotions yet and I know I will be sad as well. It’s hard to put so much into something and then have to stop doing it and change directions.”

Earnhardt’s revelations occurred one year after he sat in Darlington Raceway’s media center and candidly talked about his severe concussion issues. It was the second time in the last four years that the 42-year-old Earnhardt had found it necessary to step out of the driver’s seat due to concussion problems. In 2012, he missed only two races, but last year the number was 18. There were times last year when Earnhardt, a Cup driver for 19 years, didn’t know if he would ever race again.

“Me and (wife) Amy talk about it or I might talk about it with some of the guys or my family about where I used to be and how much of a struggle it was,” Earnhardt said. “Physically, it’s not a miracle, but it’s a blessing to be healthy and clear-minded and not in that space I was in. It was awful.”

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Earnhardt tried Jimmie Johnson’s cool suit during Friday’s practice, but he’s still undecided about whether to use it in Sunday’s Bojangles Southern 500.

“I’m just so nervous about it not working,” Earnhardt said. “If it doesn’t work, I won’t be able to finish the race (because) it will get too hot. It’s like a big wool thing with a lot of tubes and everything running through it. So, if it shut off, which there were a couple of times in practice when it quit, and it just smokes you out; it is just so hot.

“I don’t think I want to take any chances. We’ve got a pretty good car. I want to make sure I can get to the finish without any problems.”

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In case you missed it, Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, (a designer), will star next year in a home improvement four-part series on the DIY Network. And the house they are renovating is presenting them with a few challenges. The most recent – honey bees between the ceiling of the first floor and the second floor.

“The house was built in 1870, so it’s really like a 4-by-4 beam there, so it’s a really tight space and these bees got into the siding, which has brought a lot of water damage and holes in it,” Earnhardt said. “Every animal down in Key West has lived in this house in the last 20 years. I mean everything!”

For the honey bees, however, the couple had to obtain a professional for their removal.

“We knew there were a lot there, but we couldn’t exterminate them,” Earnhardt said. “They said the workers were tasting the honey. They said it was pretty good. Luckily, we didn’t have anybody get attacked between when we started and when we could remove them.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 2 2017
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