I realized something tonight while I was trying to get to sleep. I figured out one of the reasons why I’m a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan.

I didn’t become a true NASCAR fan until the year of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death. His death was incredibly tragic and because of that fact it called attention to the sport of racing. A while after the accident occurred MTV aired the documentary “True Life: I’m a Race Car Driver” that featured Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

There were a lot of things that I learned by watching the documentary, just about the sport in general, the different driver personalities, but the most intriguing thing was to see the relationship between Dale Earnhardt and his son.

I think because of the fractured relationship I have with my own father, I have this obsession with watching the wonderful relationship other people have with their fathers. I think it is the sweetest thing in the world to see a father who truly cares about and believes in his children. I saw all of that in Dale Earnhardt.

And so after his death I wanted to watch Dale Jr. and see how he would respond to losing his father that he obviously respected and loved deeply.

Over the past 6 years (I still can’t believe it’s been that long) I’ve seen a young man grow, learn and mature. I will always be a fan of his because from all outward appearances he has grown into the man that I’m sure his father had always hoped he would be.