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Dale Earnhardt Jr. made an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, and the NASCAR legend opened up about his childhood in a way his fans have never heard before.


Earnhardt discussed what it was like to grow up with his dad being the most famous driver in the sport, and Junior said he was very introverted and shy. He also said he acted out to get his dad’s attention, and he almost got kicked out of school. He also discussed going through therapy as a child and as an adult.

Related: Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t mind embarrassing himself in Las Vegas

Earnhardt said his therapist has helped changed his life in recent years, and he said seeing a therapist as a child was a bit different because he didn’t really know what was going on.

“I was a troubled kid,” Earnhardt said. “I got kicked out of a Christian school, or was going to kicked out of a Christian school. I got sent to military school for a year and a half, and I didn’t really have much direction until I got an opportunity to drive racecars.”

Earnhardt said he was probably a disappointment until 1996 or 1997 when he started racing. He said having divorced parents didn’t help, and as a 6-year old he also saw his mom’s house burn down. His mom didn’t have anywhere to go, so she gave up custody of him and his sister Kelley to Dale Sr.

Dale Jr. said he would act out because he felt like that was the only he could get his dad to notice him. Dale Sr. would be working all day and wouldn’t get to spend much time with his kids, and he was often too tired to do anything with them when he got home.

It’s a fascinating glimpse of Junior’s childhood, and one that fans haven’t really gotten to hear about in the past. He said things improved with his dad once they were both racing, and he finally found his purpose.

The entire interview is great, and Patrick gets Earnhardt to reveal things you wouldn’t typically hear from him in a regular interview.

(h/t The Comeback)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. opens up about his childhood and makes a surprising admission Craig Jones/Getty Images
Cole Frederick About the author:
Cole Frederick is from a small town in Alabama, and he graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in journalism. He loves all sports - especially football and basketball - and quotes The Office frequently.
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