Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked Saturday morning about when he learned just how beloved the Earnhardt name is at Talladega Superspeedway.
After all, Talladega is the capital of Earnhardt Nation – now Junior Nation – where it seems like the majority of fans are rooting for one car in particular. And since Dale Earnhardt Sr. won at Talladega a whopping 10 times, the Earnhardt tradition in Alabama is long and rich.
Surprisingly, Earnhardt Jr. said he wasn't really aware of how big it was until he became a driver himself. As a youngster, Earnhardt Jr. said he "wasn't really concerned with how famous Dad was."
"I was just running around the garage having fun with my buddies," he said.
Most of Earnhardt Jr.'s childhood memories revolve around things other than his famous father's Talladega legacy.
The driver recalled how he was "in awe" of how many brand-new spark plugs and bottles of brake cleaner and glass cleaner were discarded in the Talladega garage.
Back then, teams didn't have crash carts – the oversized toolbox-on-wheels with various parts and pieces – so crewmen took everything with them to pit road.
Left behind were all the items they needed before the race but weren't interested in taking home.
"Me and my buddies would box it up and carry it over to (driver/owner) Jimmy Means' truck so they could take it home," Earnhardt Jr. said. "(I don't know if) they needed it. I don't even know if Jimmy really cared, but we thought we were doing something cool."
Aside from his Talladega janitorial work, Earnhardt Jr. and his friends "begged people to let us wax their race cars."
Things have obviously changed since then, but it would be funny to see Earnhardt Jr. get sentimental and ask to wax another driver's car for old time's sake.