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On the night of Feb. 15, NASCAR drivers took the green flag at Daytona International Speedway in the Can Am Duels, two races that help determine the lineup for the Feb. 18 Daytona 500. Yet, for the first time in a long time, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not one of those drivers.

Instead, he was at home … tweeting.

“So what do y’all do here?” he wrote before the races began. “Get up and run a couple laps around the couch screaming? Cause that what comes to mind.”

Besides a number of tweets weighing in on the racing going on, Dale Jr. even had a Twitter shoutout to none other than country music’s very own Reba McEntire, and her new commercials for KFC. “Those tenders Reba has do look pretty damn good,” he tweeted out.

After the checkered flag flew at both races, Dale Jr. bid adieu to his Twitter followers, until Sunday that is,  when he will be on hand for the Daytona 500 in his new role as a commentator for NBC Sports.

“That was fun watching some [racing]. Off to bed. Furniture shopping for the DIY Network Key West Renovation tomorrow,” Dale concluded his tweet storm. “Getting close to furnishing that place. Then off to Daytona.”

And while many fans may assume that Dale Jr. might be lamenting his decision to call it a career at the conclusion of the 2017 racing season, he actually sounds like he’s just fine with it.

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“It’s weird, but also, at the same time, it’s relaxing and a bit of a relief,” Dale Jr. recently told USA Today’s “For The Win” in an interview. “It’s such a rat race, the seasons are so long, and the off seasons are so short. As I watch all these guys go through media day and do all the things we do to prepare for the season, all these little moments that happen that trigger, ‘All right, the season’s right around the corner. Here we are at Daytona days away.’ I’m not ready to get back in the car even if I was still competing. So there’s a part of me [that’s] like, ‘Man, I’m glad I don’t have to get back after it because I’m kind of enjoying my time away. I’m enjoying not being in that hamster wheel.”

But, will Dale Jr. feel the same way when he sees that Daytona 500 flag?

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“There’s a part of me that’s gonna be like, ‘Damn! I wish I was out there! That looks like so much fun! I wanna be right up in all that as it’s happening out on the track,’” he joked to For The Win. “But I think if I can break through that barrier, it’ll settle back down and I’ll be fine. But … I’m totally good with not having to think about that season looming over me … I don’t have to worry about performance and worry about how well you’re going to do, and are you going to make everybody happy? All those things are on the sidelines now, and it’s such a relief.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. weighs in on the real reasons he’s happy not to be racing at Daytona Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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