Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed one shocking thing that made him a better driver

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one of the most popular drivers of his generation in stock car racing. 

He always got ready for race day in an unconventional manner.

And Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed one shocking thing that made him a better driver.

NASCAR has undergone major changes in the 21st Century as the France family who owns it tried to move it from a regional sport in the southeast to a national one.

The Winston Cup was replaced by the Nextel Cup and tobacco companies that were major advertisers throughout its history were phased out.

And the approach drivers took when training for a race underwent a dramatic shift as well.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. needed a beer and a cigarette to get ready for race day

Dale Earnhardt Jr. comes from the old-school approach to stock car racing.

On his podcast Dale Jr. Download, he talked about his preparation for racing after he left his father’s team, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., to join Hendrick Motorsports.

“This is not advice. This is bad advice. But this is what I did. I felt like I didn’t run as good or race as good if I didn’t blow off some steam on a Tuesday or Wednesday night,” Earnhardt Jr. explained.

He said that Hendrick encouraged him to switch up his routine.

“When I started racing for Hendrick, you know, I tried to clean it up a little bit,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “They were some of the people in the building saying, ‘Jimmie [Johnson] is in great shape. Look at what he does. You should be doing these things.’ And I’m like, ‘Jimmie is Jimmie.’”

Former NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson prepared like a typical professional athlete with a rigorous fitness routine to get ready for racing.

“I’m gonna work on it. I’ll do better. I’m gonna lose some weight, I’m gonna work out. I’m gonna do these new things to try and be in better physical shape and better mental shape. I would abstain from drinking or something for a couple of weeks and the results didn’t change for me,” Earnhardt Jr. recalled.

But he found success returning to his old routine.

“And then I’d go party with my buddies or something or have friends over on a Tuesday night and we’d damn kick ass on the race weekend. I was like, ‘Maybe I’m just one of the old guardsmen. I need to drink and smoke cigarettes and go kick ass,” Earnhardt Jr. said.

Jimmie Johson ruined it for drivers

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch agreed with Earnhardt Jr.’s take during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show.

“Jimmie ruined it for a lot of us,” Busch said. “Dale isn’t the only one that had the Jimmie Johnson factor that came upon him. I got yelled at from a crew chief. I was getting a little chunky, a little heavy and all that. He was like ‘You need to work out, you need to eat better, you need to sleep a little more.’ I was like ‘Okay, sure, great. Whatever.’”

But it didn’t make a lick of difference according to Busch.

“I spent six months in the gym and working out, slimmed down and lost some pounds and whatnot. The results didn’t change,” Busch continued. “Nothing happened. It’s all about the horse you are riding. It’s all about the car you got.”

Drinking and smoking to get ready for race day is a throwback to the Winston Cup era of NASCAR.

Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.