Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not suit up for the 2018 Daytona 500, but the Earnhardt name will be one murmured by all in attendance for Sunday’s Great American Race. On Wednesday, Goodyear released a commercial honoring the legacy of both Dale Jr. and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.
The commercial, scheduled to air during the 60th running of the Daytona 500 is called “Make a Name” and honors the Earnhardt’s long-standing relationship with the tire-maker, Goodyear. It’s to the tune of the Jim Croce song “I Got A Name'” and is sung by the late singer’s son, A.J., and features a young Dale Jr. growing throughout the stages of his career while always loving his father.
The sports world was shocked when Dale Earnhardt, a NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time Cup Series champion, died after a collision with Sterling Marlin on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. His son, Dale Jr. went on to finish second in that race before winning the Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014, winning the hearts of racing fans throughout the nation and representing the Earnhardt family name with pride.
“I really try to stick with things that are told in a way that I am celebrating him, and Goodyear and his relationship with Goodyear was really strong when he was racing,” Earnhardt Jr. said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I’ve always been mindful of people saying that I rode on his coattails. I’ve been aware of that my whole career and I don’t want people to think I’ve ever taken advantage of my last name, or done anything that my Daddy wouldn’t appreciate.”
Junior went on to win two Daytona 500s in his career before retiring after the 2017 season. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver has made the transition to broadcasting and is expecting his first child this spring alongside his wife, Amy Earnhardt.
“I get emotional when I talk about it. I don’t get emotional when I watch it. When I sit down with Kelley and talk about our childhood or Dad, it always gets emotional. It always does,” he continued to the AP. “It’s sad sometimes. When I have my daughter, it will be super sad thinking about Dad, wishing he could see what I was able to accomplish, the man I have become, having a child. I just would love if he could meet her and see what’s going on.”
The Earnhardt family name will continue on in NASCAR this season at least, with Dale Sr.’s grandson and Dale Jr.’s nephew Jeffrey Earnhardt signed on with Starcom Racing. The 28-year-old is expected to suit up in the No. 00 Chevrolet on Sunday.