Kelley Earnhardt Miller: Dale Jr.’s disappointing final season ‘depressing’

If you’re a member of Junior Nation who has found Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s string of bad results in his final season to be deflating, you’re not alone.

Earnhardt’s sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller said this season has been “pretty depressing and disappointing,” and aches to see her brother have better results.

“It seems like just some luck things that happen here and there, and things that are beyond his control,” she said Friday at Darlington Raceway, where the track unveiled the naming of the Earnhardt Tower suites honoring her brother and father. “It’s certainly not how he wanted this last season to be and it’s not a lot to write home about lately.”

Earnhardt Jr. has just four top-10 finishes this year after having four straight seasons of at least 20 top-10s before his injury-shortened 2016 campaign. He currently ranks 22nd in points, which is on pace to be his worst year since 2009.

Earnhardt Miller said she’s frustrated for her brother because”I know he wants so much more than that” and has seen how he responds when he’s contending for wins.

“When he’s really running well, he has that connection with all the people around him and his fans and really holds his head high when he’s performing well,” she said. “So I’d love to see that for him in this last year.”

That said, Earnhardt Miller has no regrets about seeing Earnhardt Jr. come back to race one more season. She’s glad he has gotten to run this final season on his own terms and not have to cut his career short because of an injury, she said.

In terms of support, Earnhardt Miller said she just shoots Earnhardt Jr. a text here and there to keep his head up. She’d do more than that but said Earnhardt Jr. “doesn’t like anything mushy, so I try not to get too mushy.”

“He says I’m always mushy and I’m always the one that cries at everything,” said Earnhardt Miller, who acknowledged she’ll cry a lot at Homestead in November. “So I try to just keep it on the surface and not get too deep, but let him know that we’re thinking about him. I think that’s the most important thing for him.”

Even now, after all the fame he’s experienced throughout his career, Earnhardt Jr. still doesn’t seem to grasp how big of a star he is at times.

“We’ve sat in a lot of meetings this year where I have to remind Dale he’s a pretty special athlete,” Earnhardt Miller said. “He’s so humble and down to earth. He’s like, ‘Why would anybody want to do that (tribute)?’ I’m like, ‘Dude, this is the last year of your career on the track and you are a really special human being. You rank up there with a lot of top-notch athletes.'”

Earnhardt Miller just wants him to have some happy days on the track to go with it.



22 Replies to “Kelley Earnhardt Miller: Dale Jr.’s disappointing final season ‘depressing’”

  1. I have been an Earnhardt fan since my first Daytona 500 in 1986, I am 80 years old, and never get tired of watching the Earnhardt’s run. I can only imagine how down he feels being his last year, I have a picture of Junior and his dad sitting on steps of a hauler and I put a caption on it of, “son, if you never win a championship does not mean you were not a great driver” and I believe so much in that. He will always be a hero, and I do not see Junior Nation forgetting him.

    1. He’s not a hero. He drives a race car, poorly. He has never taken his career seriously. His head has been in the clouds the whole time. He spends more time playing video games, worrying about his fantasy football league, littering the woods with junk cars, and hanging out in his saloons. Basically concentrating on everything BUT racing.

      People ascribe all these wonderful qualities to him because that’s what they want him to be. He’s not humble, he’s not appreciative of what he has, he’s not motivated. You know how I know? He point blank said as much in an interview last year after he bumped his widdle head and took a long vacation. So he may be those things NOW because of what he almost lost, but all those years that you thought he was the kind of guy that would invite you over for a beer, no.

      You might be an 80 year old man, but you have the mentality of a starstruck teenage girl who just saw Scott Baio from 200 yards away and thought he was smiling just at you.

      1. Pretty BRAVE words from someone who calls himself ANON….

        You do know that at one point early in his career he was making $300 a week working at one of his fathers dealerships while also racing in the then Busch series?

        1. Who cares what I call myself “DeLaun?” Maybe your name isn’t what you say it is either.

          I too worked for $300 a week in the mid 90s. The difference is that I was working in one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States and I continue to do so, though I make significantly more money now. From what I understand, my industry finally took over the number 1 spot in fatalities last year after lingering at number 2 for years. So I don’t know what your point is. His daddy gave him a job at one of his businesses and let him drive a car? Mine didn’t do any of that. I built my own business doing something that people actually need.

          1. To ANON:

            NO ONE “needs” NASCAR and without Jr. there won’t be much of a NASCAR left….check out the sports current dismal ratings and poor attendance “as is”…Do you believe that those numbers are going to “magically” go UP once NASCAR’s 14 time “Most Popular Driver” is no longer racing?

            So “ANON”, as in A NON fan, in 2018 you will be able to go back to your ” business” as this sport will falter into eventual insignificance giving you MORE time to “risk your life” doing “something important”.

            I am a fan of his because of his father. SO WHAT! Also, he has multiple wins across his history in NASCAR, including being dominant at more than just the restrictor plate tracks. So to call him a “bad driver” is just plain IGNORANT.

            Anyone who races almost 40 races a year for almost 2 decades MOST CERTAINLY takes his racing “seriously”. What he does to unwind is his business…..

            BTW~YES! DeLaun is my real name. I am one of only 5 Americans since 1850 to have been given this name and I am the ONLY living US citizen with this name. Again-I don’t choose to hide while here….But I can see why YOU DO!

            I too own a business, albeit my “life risking” is done by choice, racing in my own short track race car.

            May I invite you to become a “fan” of SOME OTHER SPORT more suited to your attitude… college cheeleading-and leave this sport for the “real men”`!

            ( in men who don’t hide behind their keyboard as they spout obviously jealous rants online!)

      2. That is your opinion Anon, and I shared mine,, and I do apologize, I do not have a problem with the horse you rode in on,,,

      3. Anon,
        And who the heck do you think you are? You won’t even use your real name, hiding behind your anonymous avatar.

      4. Read through his statistics, finishes, injuries, wins, when he won, on what occasion he won. That’s when You’ll realise, why a lot of NASCAR fans treat Dale Jr as a special person, as a hero of this sport. He may not the THE best driver on the track today, but he is up there with the best of them. His career was and Junior Himself was hurt by a serious injury last year. Compare his 2017 Finishes with the 2014 andc2015 results. Multiple Top10s, Top5s and wins. Trust me if any other driver, for example Kevin Harvick had this many injuries and bad things happen to him in this sport he propably wouldn’t be driving anymore. Dale Jr. is one of the nicest, most down-to-earth, warm hearted drivers and celebrities out there, that’s why people love him.

  2. I have followed your father and you for a very long time and you were a great person to represent this sport and you and your father can be proud of everything you have do. THANK YOU DALE have a great life I will miss you..

  3. This has been ???? not only for Dale Jr., his family & fans but I would say almost (but not everybody, some even are probably enjoying it) all of NASCAR nation.

    I believe Dale has the respect of many people, who wanted him to go out on top, if not, pretty dang close to it. I can’t express how my heart feels when practice and qualifying does’t go well or the stupid bad luck strikes again in the race. ????????

  4. No matter how he runs, Dale could never be a disappointment. He has conducted himself with compassion and strength through all that has happened. He has carried the burden of his fathers’ name with pride. Thanks you, Junior, for being such a fine human being.

        1. Wrong , Kyle aka Kryme ariver Busch is the holier than thou whiner and I’m seeing so many saying good riddance ect, I wonder is it because of jealousy or they can’t wait for mini king krylee Busch to try to fill Jr’s shoes, I’ll be the one laughing when he fails. Seems the vast majority of his fans seem whiny Hey Jr, take care and you won’t be racing but you be at almost all races calling the lead changes ect Ya ain’t leaving , ya just ain’t driving no more.

  5. RaceView is how I watch the race… through the #88 and I only care how he runs in that it should satisfy him, not me.

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