Despite everything he has accomplished in stock car racing, there are still introductions that excite Dale Earnhardt Jr.
One such moment occurred two weeks ago at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana in which the popular superstar driver turned television analyst met two of his favorite short track drivers prior to the 51 Super Select Super Late Model All-Star Race.
One of the introductions was obvious as Earnhardt had never met Bubba Pollard, the de facto modern face of Super Late Model racing and one of the most successful drivers of all-time at just a remarkable 32-years-old.
Earnhardt spent his formative years racing Late Model Stock Cars, and even now still owns a pair of them driven by Josh Berry and Adam Lemke. As a result, he has only recently started paying increased attention to Super Late Models due to the increased exposure and online race broadcasts the discipline receives.
He’s become quite the fan of Pollard as a result, even sharing a fan-bestowed nickname with him that neither driver wanted in the first place.
“I did actually,” Earnhardt told Short Track Scene last week about meeting Pollard. “I shook his hand and said how much I enjoy what he does and how he goes about it. That was the first time I got the chance to watch him race in person and thought it was cool that I could see him win in person.”
But as cool as it was for Earnhardt to meet Pollard, there was actually another Super Late Model notable that Earnhardt was really looking forward to meeting.
“The one guy I was really excited to meet was Stephen Nasse, actually,” Earnhardt said. “I told him the same thing. Bubba is really freaking amazing. He’s really incredible. But I really appreciate how honest Stephen is and how we need more guys like him in short track racing. I just really wanted to tell him that in person.”
Nasse was equally charmed by the exchange.
“I was sitting on my golf cart right before tech and I turn around and there’s Dale Jr.,” Nasse said. “He told me who he was, and I was like, ‘yeah, I know who you are man,’ and he told me he was a fan of mine. I thought that was really cool of him to take time out of his schedule at the Brickyard to come watch us race.”
Nasse, while always contending for wins, has also made headlines over the past two years for getting into a fist fight with rival driver Donnie Wilson, getting into a physical altercation with his hired pit crew at the 2018 Snowball Derby and a verbal exchange with Josh Brock at the 2017 Redbud 400.
He’s a controversial figure but Earnhardt wanted to give Nasse a message in person that he’s expressed online.
Don’t ever change
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) December 2, 2018
Earnhardt was cited how much fun Nasse is on several occasions during episodes of his Dale Jr. Download podcast. Nasse expressed gratitude that Earnhardt gave short track racing so much exposure through his podcast and hoped that they could get together to do an episode someday soon.
“I think Dale and I could share a lot of fun stories about short track racing and get some people talking,” Nasse said. “I hope we can sit down and make that happen sometime soon.
The 51 Super Select was also the first time Earnhardt had looked at a Super Late Model in person in quite some time. He walked away impressed at the evolution of the straight-rail short track car first built by Mark Martin.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen a Super Late Model in a couple of years,” Earnhardt said. “We run Late Model Stocks. I’ll tell you what. Those cars are badass. They look incredible. With those bodies, they look like a million bucks and they put on a good show too. I was glad we could go out there to see it.”