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' So, I guess it's because of all those experiences, I'm just assuming there's some big hurdle coming up down the road because there always seems to be something."But I think having that mindset of not having expectations and then great things happening to you, you're just overwhelmed and feeling fortunate and blessed."He also eventually found himself comfortable with being Dale Earnhardt Jr., and not Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s son.He isn't sure exactly when."He no longer worries about having to live up to my dad or live up to some certain expectation," Earnhardt Miller said.In one of the most unusual business quirks, he didn't own the rights to his own name.He has endured the loss of his father, the public drama of family dysfunction, the mental trauma of sucking on the race track and the physical trauma of concussions. He owns two Daytona 500 victories, 26 Cup wins overall and possibly a foundation for a second career on the screen, first as an NBC racing commentator but with unlimited potential.
He finally had a crew chief who held him responsible, and made the driver realize that he needed to commit himself.
His fans initially gravitated toward him because of his last name, but he earned their loyalty and stoked an entirely new generation of fans along for the ride."You know we raised hell and partied in the early 2000s -- Budweiser ...
wanted me to just raise hell and drink beer," Earnhardt said about his sponsor during his early Cup career. He finished third in the standings in just his fourth year.
They enjoyed success, and Earnhardt -- embarrassed by the attention in previous seasons where he didn't feel his performance warranted such coverage -- basked in making the NASCAR playoffs for four consecutive years. He met an interior designer named Amy Reimann, who worked on Earnhardt's house in 2009, and they started dating.
She taught him how to enjoy race weekends more by leaving the motor home and going out for dinner.
Earnhardt ended up leaving to drive for Rick Hendrick, who had a storied career as a car owner -- and once co-owned cars with Earnhardt's grandfather, Robert Gee."I never thought I would have an opportunity to race for a team like that, one of the best in the business," Earnhardt said.