Washington, D.C. (June 16, 1998) - Dale Earnhardt was the guest speaker today at the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington, D.C.. The NPC hosts a series of newsmakers luncheons which are usually reserved for, as NPC President, Doug Harbrecht...
Washington, D.C. (June 16, 1998) - Dale Earnhardt was the guest speaker today at the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington, D.C.. The NPC hosts a series of newsmakers luncheons which are usually reserved for, as NPC President, Doug Harbrecht said, "world leaders, presidents, kings, congressmen, billionaire business tycoons, movers and shakers". NASCAR President, Bill France and Richard Childress were guests of Mr. Earnhardt at today's luncheon.
Earnhardt, born in Kannapolis, N.C., and known as the "Intimidator" was clearly intimidated by the unfamiliar surroundings of the National Press Club. Standing ovations greeted Earnhardt as he entered the room and as he rose to the podium to speak. Neither helped to set the seven time NASCAR champion at ease. "I worked hard all day yesterday on the farm trying to get tired so I could sleep," Earnhardt said, "but I didn't sleep anyway."
"I'm excited about being here".
It wasn't long before Earnhardt realized that the room was delighted by his laid back Southern demeanor as he spun stories of the early years of racing, of winning and losing, and the lessons learned along the way.
Being in Washington, Dale pointed out that he ought to discuss politics. He confessed that his political skills had been limited to lobbying "for better rules for the Chevrolets"
Dale went on to speak about his family and the business side of the sport. When asked about his investments for the $32 million dollars he had earned in racing, he talked about Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet. "We sell them. We race them. We drive them" Earnhardt said.
Other than the Chevy dealership and a few rental properties, Dale was at a loss to describe his investments. "I was really lucky when I lucked up on Teresa, and she came along and helped me handle my business side. She's handled all the money worries and helped us get to where we are today on the outside of racing".
In a career that has spanned two decades and seven Winston Cup championships, Dale Earnhardt doesn't have anything left to prove. Yet he will continue to face the challenge of seeking his eighth Winston Cup championship. "We're the only driver at this point in time that can win our eighth championship. Richard Petty is retired. Hopefully he's retired for good."
Dale's current contract with Richard Childress runs through the year 2000. "I'm trying to get him re-upped already" Dale exclaimed. "You'll keep doing what you love and that's how long I'm going to do it." Retirement is not a word in the Intimidator's vocabulary. "It's not in this future, maybe several years down the road. If Richard don't hire me back, I'm going to have to. Because I don't think I want to drive for anybody else."
"I'm sure I don't want to drive for my wife. I drove for Teresa in a Bush car before, and she don't pay too good."
When he hangs up the helmet, Dale still looks forward to being in racing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is coming up through the Bush series now and it won't be long until he's racing in NASCAR's top division. After expressing an interest in becoming Dale Junior's car owner, Earnhardt said "Richard's trying to hire him (Dale Junior), but he's got to fire me first." Dale was quick to add "I do have him in a contract though. Twenty three years I've had him in a contract".
Accustomed to hosting Heads of State, and kings and queens, members of the National Press Club may have been apprehensive about having a stock car driver as their featured speaker. Instead, they found that they had hosted the king of a reigning dynasty. The Earnhardt Dynasty.
David Reininger - Motorsport News International