Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick go back a long way. While many think of Patrick's NASCAR career beginning in 2013 when she started in the Cup Series, it's easy to forget that Junior game Patrick her NASCAR start. In 2010, Patrick had a ride on Junior's JR Motorsports Xfinity team, where she stayed for three years.
And there are more connections. Junior knows what it's like to race in his final Daytona 500 and race in his final race. Junior is making the transition from NASCAR superstar to superstar -- period -- with a television career that has already included the Super Bowl and Olympics. Patrick is also embarking on her last race and a career outside of racing that will likely be more successful that anything she did on the track.
Given all of this, Dale Jr. had some advice for Patrick, as per ForTheWin.
Relax. Soak it all in. Enjoy every last minute of everything.
"The only advice I could give her is: Don't focus on the results - just enjoy the experience," he said. "And I say that because we're all competitors, and it's hard for us - even if we try going in to just enjoy the experience - it's hard for us to not get competitive and not want to do our best. She's going to want to get in there and try to get everything she can out of the opportunity to finish well and run well. And that's great, and probably to be expected if you're going to compete in a race to try and do you best."
But in the end, it's an experience for her to enjoy. Sort of stopping to smell the flowers, only at about 200 miles per hour.
"She would be best served to soak it in, try to really enjoy qualifying and practice and everything in between - everything happening in the days leading up to it, the media attention, all that stuff. Have fun with it."