Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined countless NASCAR fans chewing their nails and clapping their sweaty hands on Feb. 17, as he just about freaked over the conclusion of the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. The crazy ending of the race not only landed Tyler Reddick in victory lane, but made it the closest race in NASCAR National Series history.
“Last lap makes ya’ nervous,” wrote Dale Jr. on his Instagram page alongside a video of him in his motorhome nervously watching the end of the race.
Of course, Dale Jr. did have a vested interest in the race, as both Tyler and second place finished Elliot Sadler are both drivers for the Dale Jr.-owned RCR Motorsports team.
“Honestly, I wish I could say I knew I timed it exactly how I wanted it,” Tyler told “USA Today” in an interview after the race. “It just came down to the side draft. And it’s funny, we were talking about it in practice, and a little bit today how much more effective side-drafting was. It was just situational that I felt I had to get down on his door as hard as I could right when I did, or he was going to win the race. Maybe that’s one time out of 10 it’s going to work and the other nine times it doesn’t. But it worked out in our favor that time.”
Having Dale Jr. at the track as a commentator for NBC Sports is at least some consolation for NASCAR fans, with some newer fans of the sport witnessing the Daytona 500 for the first time without him driving in it. And it sounds as if Dale gets tad stir crazy at home.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of time to sit around and,” Dale Jr. said in a recent interview with “Autoweek.” “[Wife] Amy [Earnhardt] says when I’m home and don’t have anything to do, I just get up off the couch and pace around the house and then sit back on the couch and complain. So, it’s probably good that I’ve been so busy, and I’ve enjoyed it. “