I have a question for people who know a ton about sports since my knowledge is limited… If you ever watched me on The Dozen, you know I just glaze over when that cocky prick, Jeff "D is for douchebag" Lowe, asks any question related to college or pro athletics.
I just spent an afternoon with Dale Earnhardt Jr, and I came away more impressed by him than I have been by any other athlete or celebrity I met in the past 5 years I spent at Barstool.
Dale attempted to take Spider and me on a ride along at Richmond Speedway… Spider enjoyed it immensely while I was too immense to fit into the car no matter how hard the assistants at the track tried to cram me in.
After my attempt was over, Dale spent an inordinate amount of time with Spider and me complimenting us on our little podcast and then promising that he would eventually get me in a stock car that would fit a 6’6” 300-pound frame.
The whole experience led me to this question:
Is there anyone else like Dale Jr?
Is there another professional athlete whose parent was universally considered a Rushmore athlete in their respective sport and then that kid went on to also carve an impressive career in that same endeavor?
Here are some of the other qualifications to be another Dale:
- Although your career was impressive, it was nowhere near that of your parent… In Jr’s case, Dale Earnhardt Sr’s shoes were impossible to fill.
- The kid in your scenario also went on to be a great ambassador for the sport both he and his dad or mom played.
Basically, the parent has to be a bigger legend, and the kid can’t be a piece of shit.
I gave it a lot of thought, and again, with my limited sports knowledge, I found only one scenario that was even close…. Muhammad Ali is on everyone’s Mt. Rushmore of boxers and his daughter, Laila Ali, retired undefeated, held a number of straps at both super middleweight & light heavyweight, and she is nowhere near her dad, but still widely regarded as one of the greatest female boxers of all time.
I do not think Laila was/is as good of an ambassador for boxing as Dale Jr is for NASCAR, but she is close in every other way.
So I ask you… Is there another athlete quite like Dale Earnhardt Jr?
And before I let you go… In case you were wondering just how much Jr is NOT a piece of shit, a loyal Rubbin’ Is Racing listener named Luke B sent in this story…
Growing up, I’ve only seen my dad cry twice, and one of those times was when Jeff Gordon retired, so you can safely say we grew up in an anti-Earnhardt household.
There was a girl in my town named Kayla Staples who was my oldest brother's age, maybe 14 or 15. She was diagnosed with a severe form of cancer and was granted a Make-A-Wish, and her wish was to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr.
My parents were friends with her parents so they were invited to be there along with my two older brothers. I was only 9 at the time so I was fucking left at home with some fucking high-school-age babysitter.
Anyways, there’s a huge party Kayla’s filled with neighbors and family waiting for Jr to meet Kayla.
From what my parents said, he showed up in a pickup truck, got out, said hi to everyone, and was super cordial. Then Dale turned to Kayla and asked her if she wanted to go for a drive.
Everyone there thought he may drive her just around the block or so considering there were a few hundred people at this party.
Kayla clearly obliged and he drove her around for HOURS… Just him and her.
Rather than do the "celebrity show-pony thing" at the party, he got her out of there and made that day so special for her by going above and beyond on his own.
That day, my dad came back to this house and said, “Maybe 8 isn’t so bad.”
I looked it up after I read this DM and it seems like Dale has granted HUNDREDS of sick kids similar Make-A-Wish experiences. On top of that, his own Dale Jr. Foundation has given away more than $11 million since its inception in 2007 to charities that directly impact communities, schools, and citizens.
So Dale Jr will never be considered the racer his father was… That’s just a fact. But I hope it is not disrespectful to say that his father was never the man that Dale Earnhardt Jr has become.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. was famous for raising hell…
… but he and his ex-wife should be equally proud of raising a unicorn.
Rest in power, Kayla Staples, and take a report.
This week on Rubbin', Spider and I sit down with Hailey Deegan to discuss the recent SRX drama, and then we preview this week's CaboWabo250, which Spider and I just happen to be Grand Marshalls for…
Gentlemen, start your engines.