Dale Earnhardt Jr. can sympathize with Simone Biles or any other athlete who feels the weight of the world on their shoulders when competing at the highest level.
The longtime NASCAR driver doesn’t race much anymore, though he’s set to compete in an Xfinity Series race in Richmond this fall.
The race, scheduled for Sept. 11, will feature the Earnhardt Jr., who’s been racing competitively since the 1990s.
Earnhardt Jr. admitted on his podcast that he was feeling nervous about the race.
“Phew. I’m scared. Yeah, I’m nervous. I’m scared,” Earnhardt said on Dale Jr. Download.“I ain’t been in a car. I don’t know how it’s going to go. It’s always an absolute unknown and my heart will be beating out of my chest the minute before I get in the car. I don’t think there’s any practice, so we’ll just hit the ground running. Drop the green flag and start racing. Hopefully, I don’t make any mistakes. Not being in the car and getting out on the racetrack with the rest of the competitors, kind of finding my place, and not making a mistake will be really critical in the first 40 laps of the race until I can settle in and things start to make sense.”
The longtime NASCAR star further explained the reasoning for his nerves.
“Hopefully, I can get through that first stage of the race without any real mistakes or issues. That will be on my mind. Because as you get older, I think it becomes harder to know where things are around you. When you drive a race-car every single week you don’t even need to look in the mirror to know where that guy is behind you or beside you. You don’t even need to look. It’s a sense. It’s automatic. You can drive right out the windshield the whole race, only relying on the information from your spotter and everything else without even looking around to see where the cars are behind you and beside you. I think getting back in the car for the first time in a long time that won’t be so natural. I hope I don’t make any mistakes and run anybody or myself into the fence or anything like that.”
Earnhardt’s car for the Richmond race will pay special tribute to the victims of 9/11.