Dale Earnhardt Jr. happy to fly the friendly skies, for now

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. –  One of the perks of NASCAR stardom is the ability to own and maintain a private jet.

But the use of a private plane isn’t about luxury. Given the scheduling demands of top drivers, getting from place to place as quickly and efficiently as possible is an essential aspect of the job.

As a consequence, a driver of the stature of Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t fly commercial aircraft too often, but when he does, Earnhardt can find reasons to enjoy the experience.

And after he puts his full-time driving career behind him at the end of the year, Earnhardt may see his frequency of commercial travel increase.

“I don’t fly commercial that often, to be honest and up front about it,” Earnhardt said. “So when I do, I’m like ‘Man, this is going to be neat.’ And (wife) Amy’s like, ‘Oh no, it ain’t. You’re not going to like it. Wait until this happens or that happens’… and she’s just naming things that happened.

“But I don’t mind doing it. I like to do it. Especially flying in and out of Charlotte we get to go by Whisky River (one of his nightclub locations is in Charlotte Douglas Airport). I don’t really get a lot of time to go by there to see what’s going on. But sitting around and waiting on the gate to open and all that stuff, I’ve not done it enough to hate it.

“So that’s really where it is. And I guess I’m spoiled would be a good way to put it. Certainly, as I go into this new chapter in life, and get further down the road, I don’t know that owning a private plane is a long-term situation for me. So I’m understanding that there are going to be some more commercial flights in my future. So maybe one day I’ll grow to hate it. But, for now, I don’t mind it too bad.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.