CONCORD, N.C. – As his final race at Dover International Speedway as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver approaches, Dale Earnhardt Jr. can’t help but think back to his win at the track on Sept. 23, 2001.
It was the first NASCAR event since the events of Sept. 11, and he remembered the entire weekend vividly.
“It was emotional,” he said in a video he posted to social media this week. “It was heavy.”
Friday afternoon at the track, Dover presented Earnhardt with a trophy commemorating that important victory.
The trophy features Earnhardt’s No. 8 Chevy, mid-burnout, with a large American flag being held out of the driver’s window.
“I felt very lucky to be the guy that got to win that race in that circumstance, but I know that anyone would have reacted very similarly considering what we were going through,” Earnhardt said. “But, I appreciate this racetrack – that was a very special win for me personally and I will have this to remember that day for a very long time.”
Earnhardt said he feels good about his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet for this weekend’s race, noting that it has “got some good speed.”
Most of all, he’s excited to take on Dover one last time.
“This has been a track where we had some good runs, and as with any track there are ups and downs, but there is a respect and appreciation,” he said. “Everything about this place is first-class.”
Sunday’s race is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.