NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made a second successful career as a commentator and show host, and he is doing apologizing for things he says the NASCAR world doesn’t like.
One of Earnhardt’s post-racing moves was to create Dirty Mo Media, home of the “The Dale Jr. Download” and “Door, Bumper, Clear” podcasts. The latter is hosted by several NASCAR spotters.
Both shows have become important pieces of media in the NASCAR world, largely because they are not just “cheerleader” shows for the sport and are not afraid to be honest.
However, that honesty comes with a price. Earnhardt and his shows have ruffled the feathers of both drivers and NASCAR officials.
Earnhardt was a guest on Jeff Gluck’s always fun “12 Questions” segment for The Athletic. He was asked how he handles it when NASCAR gets upset with something mentioned, and Earnhardt said he wouldn’t apologize anymore.
“Well, probably five years ago, I would apologize and ask for forgiveness,” Earnhardt told Gluck. “But as this business of Dirty Mo Media and the podcast have become more important or more prominent, you never want your feelings about who might get upset about what gets said (to interfere).”
He said when he has a mic in front of his face, he is simply doing his job, and it is not time to worry about friendships.
“When we’re in the broadcast booth, sometimes we’re gonna say things that my friends I drove with aren’t gonna appreciate,” Earnhardt said. “[Martin] Truex got bent out of shape about something or was disappointed in something I said about him. And I told him, ‘Man, I’m up there doing a job. When I’m up there, the job hat is on, and the friendship hat is not on. ‘”
Earnhardt did not specify which comments bothered Truex, but he was likely referring to the incident earlier this year when Ross Chastain and Truex got into a heated exchange after the Dover race. After the race, Earnhardt, friends with both drivers, defended Chastain and his “throwback” driving style, saying the sport needs drivers like him.
As for NASCAR, Earnhardt made it clear that NASCAR needs him to be brutally honest with them.
“Sometimes I’m gonna say things about NASCAR they might not like,” Earnhardt said. “I’m in there working. It’s a business, and I’m doing a job, and I’m not just out here talking behind their back … I still want to be a good ally to them. But at the same time, I feel like you’ve got that good friend of yours who will always tell you the truth Sometimes you’re not going to love what he has to say, or she has to say, but you really appreciate them because you know you’re going to get the truth. ‘Should I do this?’ or ‘How’s this shirt look?’ I’m that person, I feel like, in NASCAR’s life. And I might not always be right, but they need those people who are going to be honest and not be like, ‘Oh man, everything’s great. Sunny and 70 every day .This is amazing. ‘ They need somebody to be brutally honest with them. “
And it is not just the podcast Earnhardt hosts. Late in the 2021 season, NASCAR officials called the spotters that host the second show to the track hauler for a talk about their content. That’s a move usually reserved for drivers who need a lecture on their post-race conduct or in-race actions.
After the trip to the officials’ office, the hosts discussed the meeting on their show.
“They were probably a little angry,” Bubba Wallace’s spotter Freddie Kraft said. “But, I think it was just a good meeting for us to all sit down and kinda hash out both sides. They think we’re idiots, and we question some of the stuff they do … I would imagine it’s probably not the last time we’re going to get called in there. Davis was wondering if maybe that’s the first time any podcast has been invited into the principal’s office. “
Everybody needs an honest friend to help them become the best version of themselves. Dale Jr has no problem being that friend for NASCAR, whether they like it or not.