Dale Earnhardt Jr. visits Austin, promotes NASCAR over Formula 1

Elisabeth Dillon

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2014 Daytona 500 champion, made his first ever trip to Austin on Tuesday afternoon and said motorsports fans, especially in the states, should focus on NASCAR and not Formula 1.  

“I’m here to tell people that they need to come to see us race," Earnhardt Jr. said. "We put on a better show and that, you know, as exciting as it is to have Formula 1 be in America, come to America, and be back in the United States … NASCAR is where it’s at. It’s the best motorsports in the country for sure, possibly in the world, and to see the best show they need to come to Texas.”

Earnhardt Jr., who got his first career victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 2000, visited Sholz Garten for a meet and greet with fans to promote the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in April. The race at TMS in November overlaps with the F1 race at the Circuit of the Americas.

“I absolutely think it’s foolish,” TMS president Eddie Gossage said of the scheduling conflict. “Nobody wins.”

The now two-time Daytona 500 winner has partaken in a whirlwind media and press tour since winning NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl Sunday, appearing on The David Letterman Show on Monday evening and visiting ESPN headquarters Tuesday morning before flying to Austin. Comparisons of his victory in 2004 keep coming up for Earnhardt Jr. 

“I thought about that when I first came into the series, how long would I be chasing the Daytona 500," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Would it be eluding me like it did these other guys or would I never win it? And so when I won it early, it was a huge shock and the feeling that I had wasn’t really joy, it was more relief that I had that put out of the way. “

NASCAR’s most popular driver, who has won the award for 11 straight seasons, also joined Twitter after winning the race. He had an account for several years with over 200,000 followers despite zero tweets being sent out. Now, only two days after winning the race, he sits at over 500,000 followers.

“Tonight seemed like as good a night as any to join Twitter,” Earnhardt Jr. tweeted early Monday morning. “How is everyone doin? #2XDaytona500Champ.”