CONCORD, N.C. – Bristol Motor Speedway will always be a special place for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The track holds fond memories from childhood of playing in the infield and watching his father race around the half-mile track.
“All the kids – all the driver’s kids, crew chief’s kids – we all ran together,” Earnhardt reminisced. “As soon as you would get to the track you would seek each other out. We didn’t have phones and stuff to talk during the week, so when you would get to the racetrack you would run around seeing who was here and who wasn’t.”
Looking back on the memories, Earnhardt recalled the intimacy of watching a race at Bristol from the infield.
“It was just so fun to come here,” he said. “This place it was crazy. There weren’t a lot of high-banked short tracks. This was really unique, exciting, with the way the cars were going through the corner and the view we had from the top of those buses, we felt like we were 20 feet from the cars.”
Earnhardt remembered standing next to the tall trophy that his father won at Bristol when he was young.
Time has passed but the coveted trophy remained the same. In 2004, Earnhardt captured the win at Bristol and received his own trophy, identical his father’s.
“For a while that trophy was taller than I was and I had been lucky enough to go to Victory Lane with dad a couple of times, so, that was a trophy that I wanted,” Earnhardt recalled. “I felt really, really lucky to have gotten one.”
The Bristol trophy is one of the few that Earnhardt proudly displays in his home.
“I don’t have many trophies in the house, but that is one of them that I keep in the living room because when you win here, the driver is a big part of it,” Earnhardt said. “So, a lot of tracks, the bigger tracks, you need a lot of race car to do well, and here you need a really good driver. And I felt lucky and fortunate to have got a victory here.”
Tune in to see Earnhardt compete for the win once again at Bristol under the lights on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.