Dale Earnhardt Jr. Reflects on Traumatic House Fire


NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. has lived a life filled with twists and turns. But little do many know of the event in Jr’s past that could have, and eventually did, change everything.

“I was in a home fire when I was six years old,” recalls Earnhardt during a recent episode of his “Dale Jr. Download” podcast. “I don’t really like talking about it. I walked right past the fire.”

The fire occurred when Earnhardt was living with his mom in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

“The wiring in the kitchen caught fire and the whole kitchen and dining room was on fire,” remembers Earnhardt, who recently released his first book “Racing to the Fish: My Story.”. “I mean, the whole room was a big ball of fire.”

[MORE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Reflects on Dark Days in New Book]

Earnhardt says that his bedroom was right next to the fire and eventually, his mom’s boyfriend came into his room and walked him out the front door. They waited in the yard until the fire trucks came.

“It was just a wall of fire from floor to ceiling,” he recalls. “It was like a weird movie.”

And the fire not only left them without a home but caused a major change in Earnhardt’s life.

“(The fire) was why my mom moved to Norfolk (Virginia) and gave custody to us to dad (the late Dale Earnhardt) because that was it,” he says quietly. “She lost everything and she was broke. We were already broke and then we were really broke.”

Dale’s new book, “Racing To The Finish: My Story” is available on Amazon now.

Tricia Despres
Tricia Despres is a Chicago-based freelance writer covering music and entertainment for nearly twenty years. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Chicago Sun-Times, Advertising Age and various regional publications. A country music fan at her core, Despres has interviewed country greats such as Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood through the years and thrives on telling the story behind the story. When she is not alongside her laptop, she is alongside her family - husband Paul and daughters Taylor and Amanda.

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