Dale Earnhardt Jr.: NASCAR is ready for a female champion

In a somewhat of a role reversal, Dale Earnhardt Jr., joined racing stars Brian and Hailie Deegan this week on their PodcastOne show, The Deegans.

A perennial NASCAR most favorite driver turned broadcaster has his own widely popular podcast the Dale Jr. Download but spent time on the other side of the microphone. During the interview, Earnhardt details his unexpected journey to becoming one of the top NASCAR drivers, including a retelling of a crash he faced at twelve years old that almost ended his career. Plus, Earnhardt opens up about his relationship with his late father, the infamous Dale Earnhardt Sr., and expands on the current state of NASCAR and its future.

Among the topics was the question: Is NASCAR ready for a female champion? Hailie Deegan, 18, is moving her way up through the ranks having won in NASCAR’s K&N Series. She will compete in the ARCA series for Ford and DGR-Crosley Racing this season.

“There is a large group of people in our sport that have been waiting for a long time for a very successful run by a female racecar driver,” Earnhardt said. “You know, we’ve had some opportunities and we’ve had some great personalities come into the sport that we’d hoped were going to be that – and I hate to put a lot of pressure on Hailie [Deegan], but the fact of the matter is that she’s an incredible personality, she’s a lot of fun, she’s a hard racer, she’s already proven she’s willing to do what it takes and get down in there and get her hands dirty. So, she’s put herself in a position where a lot of people are hoping that she gets these opportunities to move through the ranks and have success and wins. I don’t know from experience how hard that can be, but watching my sister race and understanding the challenges she went through, then working with Danica [Patrick] when she drove for us…I have to think about what that experience must be like. I would love it if we had winning females in our series – in all our series – if Hailie goes out there and wins…our sport’s going to succeed big time because of that.”

You can listen to the entire podcast here or here.

Greg Engle