Bobby Dale Earnhardt is the first grandchild of the late legendary NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Sr, nephew of Nascar’s Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, and the oldest child of NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) driver Kerry Earnhardt. Bobby Dale grew up between Mooresville and Kannapolis, NC, deep in the heart of racing country. Like so many other aspiring race car drivers, he leads a normal life, spending his days working at a normal job, and his weekends at the track trying to jump-start his career in racing.
How did you come to your decision to follow in your families footsteps and get into racing? It is something I have been wanting to do, but I never thought I had the support til just recently when I found out I’ve always had the support.
How did you get started? Did you have certain steps you had to go through to get where you are now, or did you just jump right into it? I started go cart racing when I was around 7 or 8 for several years. My Papa Jack Key (My dad’s step-dad) bought me my first go-cart. From 6th to 7th grade I was on the road with my dad for the Busch Series, so I was growing up on the track and that was fun. My step-mom, Renee, home schooled me during that time. She did an excellent job because when I enrolled back into the Public School System, I tested at and above my classmates. During my high school years, I worked at my Uncle Jr’s farm. I performed maintenance on the farm, his personal cars, helped build several of the projects on his farm such as his western town, paintball course, miniature golf course, and 2 go cart tracks. When I turned 18, I was allowed to be part of his pit car as the Catch Can man, which is part of the over the wall crew. He was driving the Hooters car at that time. Then, I took a break for awhile, but then got into lawn mower racing and late model cars. I ran for Forever Three Racing.
What were your thoughts the first time you got behind the wheel? Ha ha ha! I tell you, when I tested at Daytona in January, it was the first time in that size of a stock car and the amount of horsepower it had. I thought ‘WOW… this is it… this is freaking amazing!’ It is a feeling I’ll never forget. Also, I had thoughts of my Papa Dale and the history that was at that track. Before I went out on my first practice run, Ricky Byers (a good friend and ARCA driver for Racing for A Cure for Cancer) gave me a “pep” talk and said that my Papa and all my other family members would be very proud of me and to get out there and go as fast as I can, and I did! I ran great for my first time out on that track.
You come from a family that is considered ‘royalty’ in Nascar — Does that add to the pressure? It does, but I am me and there is no one quite like me. I’m pretty laid back. I like talking to fans, and I’m really trying to make it on my own. I don’t want people to say that I’m only on the track because of my last name. It does help with sponsors, but you still have to have skill or talent. Having my Papa Dale, dad, uncle Jr., and my brother Jeffrey to watch really helps! They say its in our DNA.
Your grandfather is Dale Earnhardt Sr, your uncle is Dale Earnhardt Jr, and your father is Kerry Earnhardt — all well known in the industry. Do you feel as though you have big shoes to fill because of the name? Definitely. Plus, my younger brother Jeffrey is racing in the Camping World Truck Series, so people will be comparing and watching to see if I can handle it. One real good thing is my supporters. They are incredible! They know I’m not my grandfather, uncle or dad and that really helps.
How does your racing style compare to theirs, and how do you feel it is different? They have so much experience but I have the ‘No Fear’ attitude like all the Earnhardts. I really liked racing on the Daytona Super Speedway because it felt very natural and my family does very well on those speedways. I think I will be able to answer that question better after my first year.
Have you received any kind of advice from family or other drivers within the Nascar circuit? If so, what has that advice been? Oh sure! “GO FAST AND TURN LEFT! ” Haha! Then more seriously, that I need to be me and take my time and focus. Just be patient don’t push anything.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment to date? To start building my team with their expert knowledge. They are incredible. I am so close to racing, just getting it started and getting the exposure. It is a challenge these days! There is no way I would be this far without the support of my team which includes friends, family, and the talented Media Crew with TeamEarnhardt.
What is a normal day in the life of Bobby Dale Earnhardt like for you? Right now, I’m working at Kentucky Fried Chicken and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. KFC has been incredibly generous with my hours. When I need time off to test and when I start racing in March, they will adjust my hours again. So some days I can work from 8 in the morning until 8 at night. Then I try to catch up on answering comments on my fan page on facebook and the other social media sites like LinkedIN, Arca Nation, Nascar Nation, and Twitter. Plus, I’m starting a site on RacingIN.com. I also try to work out and spend time with family and friends.
What are your upcoming plans and your hopes for this season/year? Well, I am licensed to race the ARCA series except for Daytona and Talledega. I have the utmost respect for ARCA’s decision that I race only on the short tracks (no drafting) until I get more seat time on the track. That is for safety. Plus, I would like to pick up a few races with the Nascar K&N East Series, and I wouldn’t mind picking up 2 races in Canada. Montreal with the Canadian Nascar Series and a race up in Nova Scotia. I think that’s it!
What would you like for your fans to know that they already don’t? My favorite food is a nice medium steak with my very own marinade, a baked potato with chesse, chives, and bacon bits and to drink either a Sundrop or tea. That is a memory I have with my Papa Dale… every morning he use to have a Sundrop and an oatmeal cookie. I love fishing, hunting, the beach, mountains, and anything outdoors. When I was younger I wanted to be a race car driver, then I switched to wanting to be a crew chief. My ultimate dream would be to own a Race Team.