Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s only authorized book revealing the inside track on his final year of racing and retirement from the driver’s seat.
“Time was running out on my charade… My secrets were about to be exposed to the world.”
It was a seemingly minor crash at Michigan International Speedway in June 2016 that ended the day early for Dale Earnhardt Jr. What he didn’t know was that it would also end his driving for the year. He’d dealt with concussions before, but concussions are like snowflakes, no two are the same. And recovery can be brutal, and lengthy.
When NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired from professional stock car racing in 2017, he walked away from his career as a healthy man. But for years, he had worried that the worsening effects of multiple racing-related concussions would end not only his time on the track but his ability to live a full and happy life.
Torn between a race-at-all-costs culture and the fear that something was terribly wrong, Earnhardt tried to pretend that everything was fine, but the private notes about his escalating symptoms that he kept on his phone reveal a vicious cycle: suffering injuries on Sunday, struggling through the week, then recovering in time to race again the following weekend. For the first time, he shares these notes and fully reveals the physical and emotional struggles he faced as he fought to close out his career on his own terms.
In this candid reflection, Earnhardt opens up about his frustration with the slow recovery, his admiration for the woman who stood by him through it all, and his determination to share his own experience so that others don’t have to suffer in silence. Steering his way to the final checkered flag of his storied career proved to be the most challenging race and most rewarding finish of his life.
Thank you Dale for sharing your story. I’ve been a fan for 20 years, and I miss watching you race. But reading this book really helped me to understand what you went through and why you’ve made the decisions you’ve made. Good luck to you and your family in the future.55
Thank you Dale Jr for sharing your personal journey.55
To Dale, Jr. I can’t begin to tell you how much your book inspired me. You have been my favorite race car driver since I saw you race in your first Busch race. I am so very sorry about the horrible issues you faced over the past several years dealing with concussions. Your book will help many people struggling daily with these problems that are going undetected and untreated. You are an inspiration to all. I wish you, Amy and Isla Rose the most wonderful life and may God Bless you for your courage to tell your story. Sincerely, Debbie Polinski55
As a NC native and NASCAR fan I’ve followed Jr from the start. I’ve read his first book, nearly met him a few times when I had Hot Passes, and can remember most of the racing incidents described in the book. I remember thinking in his final years he was gonna hang it up because performance seemed to elude him. What I took away from this book was that Dale is as true a racer that has ever lived, I had no idea what was really happening as did no one else, and how large of an impact he will undoubtedly have on racing as the history books are read years from now. Dale’s contribution to the sport continues to grow much more than any trophy or stat could ever measure. I feel like I know him, if I could ever meet him I’d tell him how much I’ve enjoyed watching his story over two decades. Thanks Dale!55
Great read and honestly think this could change things for the better in racing and other contact sports.55
When friends and family hear me use the word concussion, I feel like they don’t understand. The truth is they don’t. I have suffered 4 treated concussions. The two that changed my life were handled at the UPMC Sports Center. The first coming from go-kart racing that would take everything a 10 year old was doing and bring it to a dramatic stop. And the fourth one during a game of tag football at school that left me medically unclear to do anything for over eleven months at 15 years old. I put a lot of symptoms in the concussion bin in the last 8 years and just figured that this was my life. Doctors told me I would never race again when I was 10, and at 15 I decided that I didn’t feel healthy enough to do anything that would take any chances to re-injure myself. My life for the past 8 years has been very low key. I still suffer a lot of the symptoms that I didn’t know how to explain to anybody until now. Thank you Dale. You have been my hero since I can remember and reading this book taught me that it’s time to grow up and get over my pride and get help. Your saving my life.55
Honest, painful, heroic...I was not a part of Junior Nation before I read his book. But now I am. Thank you, Dale, for bravely reliving all of those painful times to tell your story and in turn send a message to anyone who has suffered a head injury. Get help. Don't suffer in silence.55
Thank you Dale for sharing your journey! I suffered from concussions from the age of 5 to 20 and just thought my symptoms were normal. Back in the 1960’s you didn’t even go to ER so now that I am 66 my life long dizziness makes sense. I am so happy for you and Amy and your little blessing Isla!55
Such an eye opener. Very relatable book for myself, kept me interest. Glad it was published!55
I've been waiting for this book for a while. Thank you Dale for bravely and candidly sharing your very personal story. I too hope this continues to improve protocols and treatments for others that are silently suffering. Great read!55