2017 just might have been Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s most pivotal year ever Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 13: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Axalta Chevrolet, stands on the grid with his wife, Amy Reimann, prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 13, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

As the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2017, Dale Earnhardt Jr. smiled up to the heavens as the confetti began flying down on him and the hundreds in attendance of his New Year’s Eve wedding. He smiled, knowing that he had found the love of his life Amy and that he would be back to racing after a season-ending concussion in 2016.

Yet, perhaps, he also smiled because he knew instinctively that he was about to embark on one of the biggest years of both his personal and professional lives.

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Indeed, the year ahead included everything for Dale Jr. from the announcement of his retirement at the conclusion of the 2017 season to his plans to enter the broadcasting booth in 2018. Add that to the fact that he and Amy would get their own DIY network show in 2018, along with a brand new baby, and Dale Jr. had the kind of year that many only dream about.

That’s why this year, Dale Jr. is nominated for Rare Country’s Story of the Year”alongside fellow nominees such as Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Thomas Rhett, Miranda Lambert and Kenny Chesney.

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You see, while Dale Jr. has never claimed to have any sort of country music connection, his fans have a very deep connection with both NASCAR and our music genre. Country music fans have always loved all that Dale Jr. is and all he will become.

Around every turn, they have been there.

And they always will be.

It’s now up to you to decide the winner at Voting begins Nov. 13 and goes until Dec. 13. Winners will be revealed during a livestreamed concert on Dec. 14.

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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