CONCORD, N.C. – In a long NASCAR season, off-weekends are all about rest and relaxation.
But for Dale Earnhardt Jr., this week’s break will be all about ancestry.
The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS is headed to Germany.
“I’ve got some specific towns that we're going to go visit that we understand that my ancestors are from,” he explained. “I've been searching my genealogy for about five years now, and I made a promise to myself then that I would go to Germany and understand more about my ancestors when I turn 40, so here I am.”
But Earnhardt won’t be making the trip alone.
“I'm taking my sister and L.W. – her husband, Larry Wayne – and (girlfriend) Amy (Reimann) is going with me, of course,” he said. “And the lead I.T. guy at JR Motorsports, Martin Friedrich, he's from Germany, so he's going to go with us, as well, and really kind of help us understand how not to insult anybody.”
He’s not sure exactly what he’s in for, but he knows it will be quite the experience.
And it’ll start with the plane ride.
“I'm real nervous about flying over there. I haven't flown commercial since 9/11, so it's been a long time,” Earnhardt said. “My friends tell me I'm in for a treat, and just hopefully it's just a good trip.
“Should be a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to it. We should come back with some great stories. Hopefully I'll get pictures, and we'll certainly share.”