There are plenty of NASCAR fans who adamantly argue that Dale Earnhardt Jr. wouldn't be where he is today if not for the Earnhardt name and the legacy secured for him by his late dad, the Intimidator himself, Dale Earnhardt Sr. Whether or not you agree with that sentiment, one thing's for sure: there was a time when having the Earnhardt name didn't mean squat for ol' Junior. At least it didn't keep him from getting fired from Dale Sr.'s car dealership.
Back in June 2018, Dale Jr. stopped by The Dan Patrick Show and opened up about the time his gig as a mechanic at his dad's dealership in North Carolina came to an unceremonious close.
"One day, we got a new service manager, and the guy was like, 'We're gonna stay after and we're gonna have this meeting and I'm gonna change the service department and fix it.' And I was like, 'Well, I'm not staying if we can't stay on the clock. So he said, 'Do whatever you think is right.' So I went home because he wasn't gonna let us stay on the clock. And so, I came back the next day and he goes, 'Take a couple days off and see if this job matters to you.' And so long story short, I ended up getting fired from the dealership."
"I called Dad and said, 'This guy's sending me home to think about my job for a couple days and see if I'm really serious about it. I don't want to drive all the way home and then you say get your butt back to work.' And nobody's gonna front the bill on the gas this is gonna take, so he said, 'Actually go in there and tell the guy that you're working or not working.'"
"So I went back in there -- didn't tell him I called my dad -- and I said, 'Listen, I'm gonna work or I'm not.' And he said, 'Find somebody to help you load your toolbox up. You're outta here.'"
Considering that Junior, a 15-time most popular driver, went on to have a fairly successful stock car racing career, made a whole lot of money, and now works as a NASCAR broadcaster and popular podcast host, we'd say that everything ended up working out okay for him in the end.
This post was originally published on August 29, 2018.