Dale Earnhardt Jr. headed to his podcast studio on Tuesday with the knowledge that he could become a member of the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. However, he says he wasn't nervous about the momentous occasion. He was actually far more nervous about his root canal.
Earnhardt Jr. spoke with NBC Sports following the announcement that he is joining the Hall of Fame. During this discussion, he explained that he and his podcast team recorded the Dale Jr. Download during the announcement so they could react live. They could either celebrate his inclusion on the list or whoever beat him out. He also explained that a dental procedure drew his attention, which helped him avoid nervousness as the announcement time approached.
"I wasn't really nervous," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I had a root canal this morning, so maybe I was more nervous about that. That was kind of distracting my thoughts. I was also understanding that I'm young considering most of the people that are inducted in the Hall of Fame."
Earnhardt Jr.'s attitude changed on the show began, however, as he realized the time had arrived. He instantly became nervous and "got really shook up." Once Earnhardt Jr. heard his name, he became very emotional. Although he still tried to shift the focus from himself over to Red Farmer, the 88-year-old Pioneer Era inductee.
"I'm feeling great about this experience, looking forward to what lies ahead, and the evening itself, the ceremony," Earnhardt Jr. continued. "It's going to be a great experience, and I'll be excited to see Red Farmer's speech. Man, what a character. A guy that's still racing. He's going to have so much to tell us, so much to share with us."
Now that the waiting part of the process is over, Earnhardt Jr. can anticipate the actual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He can look forward to giving a speech, donning the iconic blue jacket and celebrating with his fellow Hall of Famers. The weekend will take place in Charlotte, but details are still unavailable. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is currently closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Regardless of when he dons the jacket, Earnhardt Jr. can rest assured that he overcame two hurdles on Tuesday. He forever cemented his name in the hallowed halls and he took care of a root canal. Both will have a longstanding impact on his life.