Dale Earnhardt Jr., nervous?
This from a man who drives race cars around a track at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour, on the back bumper of the guy in front? The guy who is the biggest name in NASCAR — winning the NASCAR Most Popular Driver award for an unprecedented 14 consecutive years — and a living legend?
Yep. He’s nervous.
It all has to do with his new career as an announcer, according to an interview on Sirius FM radio, and transcribed by NASCAR.com.
“I’m a little nervous to try something new. Hopefully it all goes pretty smooth and I don’t stumble out of the gate a little bit.”
He’s nervous, he noted, because of the comfort level her finds in the garage and on the track.
“It’s been real easy to drive a race car and hang out in the garage. I know all these people and I’m comfortable there. I’m going to get out of that area and go places I’ve never been before, do things with folks I’ve never met before and try to broaden my horizons a little bit.”
That he will. There’s already talk that Earnhardt, signed to a broadcasting deal with NBC that begins in 2018, might do some NFL games. His first assignment will be as an analyst for all the Monster Energy Cup races on NBC’s schedule, which begins with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
“We want Dale to be Dale,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer and President of Production Sam Flood. “We didn’t hire him to be an announcer. We hired him to be himself.”
Earnhardt plans to oblige.
“I want to be that same person I am in the booth. I don’t want to change or be molded into something different or polished up,” he said in the interview. “I mean, I definitely want to get better and I want to be great at it. I want to work at it and do what I need to do, but I also want that freedom to be honest and be candid. But if you’re going to do that, you’re obviously going to step on a toe or two, and you’re also going to be wrong sometimes. And when you’re wrong, it’s best — and I’ve always felt like I did a good job of this — is owning it and moving on.”
Can’t wait to hear him in the booth.
Related: Dale Earnhardt Jr. calls his next adventure an adrenaline rush