Dale Earnhardt Jr. has officially said goodbye to Myrtle Beach Speedway.
And it’s documented in a streaming series for all to see.
On Thursday, the final episode in season 2 of “Lost Speedways,” a series about abandoned racetracks produced by Matthew Dillner and featuring Earnhardt Jr., became available on Peacock TV and features the now-closed Myrtle Beach racetrack.
The track, which held its final race on Aug. 15, 2020 as it’s in the process of being sold to a residential and commercial developer, is widely known as Earnhardt Jr.’s home track as he won his first NASCAR race there and essentially grew up on approximate half-mile oval.
“This track is where I learned to be a racecar driver. And now deconstruction is underway. That means it’s going away forever. So forgive me if I go back to the beach one last time,” Earnhardt says at the open of the episode. “I’m not sure what I’ll find when I get there, but I need to say goodbye to an old friend before she’s gone.”
What Earnhardt finds is mere traces of what for decades was a bustling track that once hosted Busch (now Xfinity) Series races and weekly grassroots racing.
“This is crazy,” Earnhardt says in his first look at the now-dilapidated track. “I’ll be honest: I’m kind of struggling with this one. Usually when I’m going to explore a track I’m amped up and looking forward to seeing it, but today it just feels different. It feels kind of sad and it’s kind of like you’re walking into a funeral I guess.”
The show details the big names who raced here, from David Pearson to Richard Petty to the Powell family. Of course, though, there were many Earnhardts who raced at the track over the years.
“They all came here. They put on a show.” former track announcer Bill Hennecy says in the show.
The episode also tells the stories of many others’ time there, including the likes of Dink Widenhouse, Sam Sommers and Roy Tyner. It also details the history of the speedway, back to its early days of starting out as RAMBI Speedway.
Earnhardt Jr.’s breakthrough in Myrtle Beach
What many will remember about the track is it being the place of Earnhardt Jr.’s first NASCAR victory. However, success didn’t come easy for the man who started racing there at 18 years old.
“We were kind of out of our element,” Earnhardt says during the show, noting a competitive field that includes some NASCAR all-time greats.
But on Aug. 20, 1994 Earnhardt finally broke through, winning for the first time after many struggles at the track.
“What I didn’t realize at the time is maybe winning wasn’t the goal,” Earnhardt says of his father, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s idea of sending him to that track at an early age. “Dad was preparing me for something bigger.”
Said Hennecy: “I think when people left that night they viewed it as being ‘I’ve seen some history made here.’ As far as Dale Jr., I think it had a stamp that said ‘You can win again.’”
Earnhardt gets a surprise from some old friends
Dillner had a surprise up his sleeve for Earnhardt.
Late in the show Earnhardt gets a surprise reunion with Wesley Sherrill, one of his team members while in Myrtle Beach, and Edward Jordan, one of Junior’s competitors and closest friends at the track.
“The moment I saw them I about lost it,” Earnhardt says in narrating the show.
He reminisces with the two about the struggles, triumphs and eating Kentucky Friday Chicken, Jordan’s sponsor, at the track.
“Making Dad proud, that was my biggest motivation to winning here at Myrtle beach,” Earnhardt says in closing the episode. “But I’ll tell you this: This place gave me way more than just a few trophies. Edward or Wesley showing up is a testament to that.”
The show closes with Earnhardt picking up some pavement and putting it into a small glass jar with the words “Myrtle Beach” on it as a final memento.
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