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.
Retired professional stock car driver Earnhardt candidly opens up about the end of his racing career and warns other athletes about the dangers of traumatic brain injuries. Earnhardt uses his charisma and a conversational tone "heck man" and "ain't" are sprinkled throughout to delve into heavy discussions of sports-related harm. Introduced by Earnhardt's concussion specialist, the book illustrates the huge pressure athletes are placed under to sacrifice their health for career success, a burden acutely described through the lens of Earnhardt's experience hiding his condition from those closest to him. He recounts intense crashes that will have racing fans on the edges of their seats, and he also shares personal notes about his symptoms and struggles that he'd written on his iPhone: "Hit oil and slammed wall. Instant headache. Felt lazy and 1 beer drunk rest of day. Could fumble some speech and mind was forgetful. Don't consider this one as serious as some." Data-driven medical information and comparisons of concussion injuries in other professional sports leagues are also provided to stress the seriousness of the problem. Although religion is never at the forefront of the book, Earnhardt relies on his faith often during his struggles with concussions, a fact that comes through in his personal entries. For fans of racing or professional athletics in general, Earnhardt's worrying tale will be a wake-up call for reform and better health policies.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A heartfelt story
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.
Thank you Dale Jr for sharing your personal journey.
Racing to the Finish
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.