October 3, 2022

NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr has had a successful second career as a broadcast commentator and host, and he’s done apologizing for things he says the NASCAR world doesn’t like.

One of Earnhardt’s post-race actions was to create Dirty Mo Media, which hosts “The Dale Jr. Download” and “Door, Bumper, Clear” podcasts. The latter is animated by several NASCAR spotters.

Both shows have become big news outlets in the NASCAR world, in large part because they aren’t just sports cheerleader shows and aren’t afraid to be honest.

However, this honesty comes at a price. Earnhardt and his shows have ruffled the feathers of NASCAR drivers and officials.

Earnhardt was a guest on Jeff Gluck’s always fun “12 Questions” segment for The Athletic. He was asked how he handled it when NASCAR got upset with something mentioned, and Earnhardt said he wouldn’t apologize again.

“Well, probably five years ago I would apologize and ask for forgiveness,” Earnhardt told Gluck. “But as this Dirty Mo Media thing and the podcast has gotten bigger or bigger, you never want your feelings about who might get upset about what’s being said (interfere).”

He said that when he has a mic in front of his face, he’s just doing his job and there’s no time to worry about friendships.

“When we’re in the broadcast booth, sometimes we say things that my friends I’ve driven with won’t like it,” Earnhardt said. “[Martin] Truex got confused about something or disappointed about something I said about him. And I said to him, ‘Man, I’m up there doing a job. When I’m up there, the work hat is on and the friendship hat is not. ‘”

Earnhardt didn’t specify which comments bothered Truex, but he was likely referring to the incident earlier this year when Ross Chastain and Truex had a heated exchange after the Dover race. After the race Earnhardt, a friend of both drivers, defended Chastain and his “retro” driving style, saying the sport needs drivers like him.

Martin Truex Jr and Ross Chastain

Martin Truex Jr (left) and Ross Chastain discuss a late race incident.


As for NASCAR, Earnhardt made it clear that NASCAR needed him to be brutally honest with them.

“Sometimes I’ll say things about NASCAR that they might not like,” Earnhardt said. “I work in it. It’s a business, and I do a job, and I’m not just here to talk behind their backs… I still want to be a good ally to them. But at the same time, I feel like you have that good friend of yours who will always tell you the truth. Sometimes you’re not going to like what he has to say, or what she has to say, but you really do appreciate them because you know you’re gonna get the truth. ‘Should I do that?’ or ‘How is this shirt?’ I’m that person, I feel like, in NASCAR life. And I might not always be right, but they need those people who are going to be honest and not say, ‘Oh man, Everything is going well. Sunny and 70 every day. This is amazing.’ They need someone to be brutally honest with them.”

And it’s not just the hosts of the Earnhardt podcast. At the end of the 2021 season, NASCAR officials called the watchers who run the second show to the track carrier for a discussion about their content. It’s a move usually reserved for drivers who need a lecture on their post-race driving or in-race actions.

After the trip to the officials’ office, the hosts discussed the meeting on their show.

“They were probably a little angry,” Bubba Wallace spotter Freddie Kraft said. “But, I think it was just a good meeting for all of us to sit down and have a little chat on both sides. They think we’re idiots, and we question some of the things they do…J ‘Guess that’s probably not the last time we’re going to be called there.’ Davis wondered if this might be the first time a podcast has been invited into the principal’s office.

Everyone needs an honest friend to help them become the best version of themselves. Dale Jr has no problem being that friend for NASCAR, whether they like it or not.