Graham travels to North Carolina to the home of Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the NASCAR icon’s first extensive interview about the numerous concussions that forced his early retirement. Dale Jr. candidly shares why he kept concussion symptoms a secret for so long and the intense rehab endured alongside his wife Amy to return to the track for a final season. Plus, Kelley Earnhardt Miller discusses her and Dale’s upbringing with a father who prioritized his career over family and Mike Davis shows Graham around Dale Jr.’s sprawling, 200-acre property.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. recalls a few major crashes during his NASCAR career, including a 2012 crash at Kansas Speedway, which he attributes to increasing susceptibility to future concussions and eventually cutting his career short. Dale Jr. also reflects on internal struggles coping with prolonged effects of concussions.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. gives detailed descriptions of the symptoms he experienced as a result of concussions and why he secretly documented symptoms on his iPhone. He sheds light on the fears that kept him from disclosing symptoms and Dale Jr.’s wife, Amy, talks of first learning what he had been going through.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. recalls when team owner Rick Hendrick convinced him to see a doctor amid weeks of what turned out to be concussion symptoms. Dale Jr. talks of the many tests and exercises endured to both diagnose and treat his symptoms.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. shares his fears of the possible re-emergence of concussion symptoms and possible long-term effects of sustaining numerous concussions. He goes on to speak positively about what NASCAR has done to protect their drivers, but acknowledges that drivers are their own worst enemies and need to be protected from themselves.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. opens up about how important of a role his wife Amy played in his rehabilitation from recurring concussion symptoms, confiding that had she not been there he probably would’ve retired from racing earlier. Dale Jr. also discloses how her commitment to his recovery shattered any doubts about her intentions and helped to create trust for the first time in Dale’s life. Plus, Amy Earnhardt offers her perspective as she helped motivate Dale throughout his rehabilitation.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller look back on their childhood relationship as big sister/little brother and how that relationship today has both changed and stayed the same. Kelley says that young Dale Jr. was constantly getting into trouble in an effort to get attention and she even followed him to military school to help him find his way.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. looks back on his rigid upbringing with a father who was focused on racing, tough to impress and absent from Dale Jr.’s childhood events. Dale Jr. says he finally started to connect with his father when he started racing and he noticed his dad mature into a more caring father figure over the years. Plus, Kelley Earnhardt Miller joins the conversation to discuss Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s shifting priorities as his NASCAR career matured.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. reflects on his first time back at Daytona after his father’s crash and his decision to embrace the track as a place where he can feel closer to his dad. Dale Jr. goes on to discuss a NASCAR.com article he wrote praising his father and how thankful he is to have read that article aloud to his dad.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on wrestling with an array of emotions in the wake of his father’s death and the decision to leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) several years later. Plus, Dale Jr. and his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller look back on their business relationship with stepmother Teresa Earnhardt, who also took over as owner of DEI after the passing of Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. opens up about the thinking behind his decision to retire and his relationship with former boss and friend Rick Hendrick. Plus, Amy Earnhardt reflects on the public’s perception of Dale Jr.’s retirement announcement and his decision to write a book.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. looks back on his legacy as a NASCAR driver and compares the remarkable recognition as the sport’s “Most Popular Driver” for 15 consecutive seasons (2003-2017) against the likes of Jimmie Johnson, who won seven NASCAR championships during the same span, yet those championships never amounted to Dale Jr.’s level of popularity.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he is not bothered by a recent decline in NASCAR’s attendance and TV ratings, as he’s certain the sport will eventually rebound. Dale Jr. also says he hopes his contributions as a broadcast commentator will help the popularity of the sport, even if just a little bit.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. discusses his transition into his next chapter in racing – serving as a broadcast commentator at the track for NBC. Dale Jr. offers his perspective on his introduction to broadcasting and the personal need for him to maintain a purpose at the race track.
Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith quizzes Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his Redskins trivia and Dale Jr. responds with a lighthearted callout of his own.
Kelley Earnhardt Miller talks of growing up racing alongside her father Dale Earnhardt and the glass ceiling the prevented her from continuing her pursuit as a NASCAR driver. Earnhardt Miller also talks of her current role as co-owner of JR Motorsports and how Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement is benefiting the company.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s managing director Mike Davis shows Graham around Dale Jr.’s property just north of Charlotte, including a stop at the old western saloon, the original JR Motorsports shop and adjoining home of the Dirty Mo Basketball League.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. estimates that he reached 80 percent of his racing potential and attributes the void to ignorance and late nights partying in his pre Hendrick Motorsports years as a young NASCAR driver. Dale Jr. says the drivers (including Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon) and the management team at Hendrick held him accountable for the first time and showed the level of focus and responsibility required to succeed in the sport.
Amy Earnhardt looks shares stories of meeting Dale Earnhardt Jr., his marriage proposal in Germany at the church his ancestors used to worship in, when Dale Jr. changed his mind about marriage and thoughts on whether their child or children may one day get into racing. Plus, Dale Jr. reflects on how his love for Amy has grown stronger as they raise their daughter Isla Rose together.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. candidly opens up about the importance of therapy throughout his life, especially as it relates to helping him become a better boyfriend and husband to Amy. Dale Jr. attributes the counsel from his therapist for saving their relationship and says they still attend couples therapy sessions every six months or so.