“My book … details the living hell that was my experience with concussions. The majority of this story was kept from even my closest relationships. It wasn’t easy, but it’s time to tell it.” – Dale Jr.
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.
As a third-generation driver in a family forever connected to the sport of stock-car racing, how could Dale Earnhardt Jr. sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else take their laps? It was one of the toughest seasons of his life—one that changed him forever.
In this gripping narrative from one of professional sports’ most beloved figures, Dale Jr. shares stories from his journey: how his career and his injury have transformed him, how he made the decision to retire at the end of the 2017 season after eighteen years behind the wheel, and what lies ahead for him in the next chapter of his life. There’s no second-guessing and no regrets from Driver #88. He simply wants to go out on his own terms and make the rest of his life off the racetrack count. Junior says, “I don’t want these last races to be just about me but rather the people who made my success possible: my fans, the folks who pack the grandstands rain or shine, my teammates and crew members through the years, industry colleagues, track volunteers, friends, family, sponsors. They’ve all played a role. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
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
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.
Not what I expected
As a NC native and NASCAR fan I’ve followed Jr from the start. I’ve read his first book, nearly met him a few times when I had Hot Passes, and can remember most of the racing incidents described in the book. I remember thinking in his final years he was gonna hang it up because performance seemed to elude him. What I took away from this book was that Dale is as true a racer that has ever lived, I had no idea what was really happening as did no one else, and how large of an impact he will undoubtedly have on racing as the history books are read years from now. Dale’s contribution to the sport continues to grow much more than any trophy or stat could ever measure. I feel like I know him, if I could ever meet him I’d tell him how much I’ve enjoyed watching his story over two decades. Thanks Dale!