Dale Earnhardt Jr. may have finished in 34th place at his last NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway back in 2017, but I'd say that the pre-race festivities kept the Earnhardt family's trip to Virginia from being a total bust. To kick things off, Dale's wife Amy had the honor of driving the pace car, and she looked like a natural out there!
"It was incredible," Amy Earnhardt told NASCAR.com following the late October race. "I had no idea what it was going to be like. Everyone told me that the perspective of the (track) was going to be the best part, and they were totally right."
Touching on the importance of the Earnhardt family's legacy, Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell added, "The Earnhardt family has meant so much to Martinsville Speedway through the years, Dale in particular, and we wanted for him to be able to share his last Cup race here with the person closest to him."
What a special moment for Dale and Amy!
While it's customary for front-row drivers to give the pace car a little bump (Junior himself was on the receiving end of that when Kyle Busch bumped him at the 2018 Brickyard 400), Amy made it out unscathed. Martin Truex Jr., who had qualified second for the 2017 First Data 500, teased a potential bump ahead of race day. Fortunately for Amy, Truex, who's good friends with the Earnhardts, decided to hold back.
"He threatened to, and he got pretty close a couple of times, but he didn't," Amy said. "He was easy on me."
At the time of Amy's pace car driver stint, she was actually newly pregnant with Isla Rose Earnhardt, who's four years old now. Isn't it crazy how time flies?!
"I'm not sure if she'll be into or racing or not," Amy Earnhardt said at the time. "We'll just have to see, but she got to go for a ride around the racetrack with me, so that's pretty neat."
Today, the Earnhardts are a family of four, having welcomed Nicole Loraine Earnhardt to the clan back on October 12, 2020. Who knows whether either Earnhardt girls will end up sharing Dale Jr.'s love of racing? But, at least they'll have each other to keep themselves entertained while Dad's calling races in the NBC booth!
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