CONCORD, N.C. -- Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick made a special call to Dale Earnhardt Jr. to congratulate him after he was named a NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee for the Class of 2021.
Earnhardt received the call on his popular podcast, "The Dale Jr. Download."
"It's a pretty special deal," Earnhardt said right after the announcement. "It's a win for a lot of other people ... Now we get to go through the experience of being nominated and the process of crafting our speech, getting the jacket and standing up there with all those legends and heroes."
Earnhardt, his wife Amy and daughter Isla were live on the air when the announcement was made. Soon the phone rang and Hendrick was on the other line to give his support and congratulations.
"I'm proud of you, man," Hendrick said.
"Thank you for helping me accomplish my goals," Earnhardt responded.
"You said you were going to make me popular. You did a pretty good job," Hendrick laughed. "It's well deserved. What you've done for the sport, on and off the track, and being such an ambassador to carrying the flag, no one deserves it more than you do."
Earnhardt said Hendrick was a huge part of his career and said he is so thankful to race with the organization. He added the reason he got to where he is today is because he knew the pressure and status that comes with racing at Hendrick Motorsports.
Earnhardt joined the organization in 2008 in the middle of Jimmie Johnson's five championship win streak and four-time champion Jeff Gordon still was racing with the organization. He remained with Hendrick Motorsports until he retired from full-time racing at the end of 2017.
"One of the greatest things about being an employee at (Hendrick Motorsports) is being able to learn from the man himself, Rick Hendrick," Earnhardt said. "You know how to treat people and you have such a big heart. ... You are very supportive to me."
To listen to the full podcast, click here.