NOTES FROM THE NASCAR NATION: DALE JR IS A DIE HARD ‘GAMER’ BUT DON’T ASK HIM TO JOIN YOU ON THE ‘SOCIAL NETWORK’

[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”276″][/media-credit]For many years now it’s been generally well known that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a “gamer,” or an avid player of video games. In past interviews he’s admitted to often sitting up much of the night honing his expertise with just about any video game on the market.

One would think that Earnhardt’s love of this high tech recreational age would include hanging out with his friends on modern day so called “social networks.” It doesn’t. Believe it or not NASCAR’s most popular driver isn’t that fond of the concept and has actually declined opening a “Twitter” account.

During a recent interview, conducted prior to the start of the NASCAR weekend at the California based Auto Club Speedway, Earnhardt answered the usual questions regarding all aspects of his Hendrick Motorsports racing team. Somehow the topic of video games worked it’s way into the conversation. Earnhardt is one of the Sprint Cup celebrities included in the new racing game “NASCAR, The Video Game 2011.”

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“NASCAR: The Video Game 2011” is the first edition of the NASCAR racing simulator series developed by Eutechnyx and published by Activision. It was released for Playstation and Xbox 360 units last March 29th and will be released for Wii machines on May 24th. It will be the first NASCAR game released since the contract between EA Sports and NASCAR expired. The new game will feature on line races for 16 players. All of the 23 Sprint Cup Series race tracks will be featured in the game. 43 Sprint Cup drivers have been added to the game as well as some other drivers from the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.

When asked for his impression of the new video game and what characteristics did they use for his race team, Earnhardt surprisingly said “I don’t know, I haven’t tried it. I don’t have my copy yet. I’m waiting on those guys to tell me where I can go buy it.”

It seemed a little amazing that Earnhardt would even have to purchase a copy of the new video game especially with his image included in it. Responding to that, he said “well, I was not going to assume that I was going to get a free one but if they wish to send me one, I’ll be glad to try it. I enjoy those kind of things and I’ve got some friends that work at the company in Europe that made it and I was pretty excited to see it. I’m a big longtime EA Sports fan, but I was excited to see a new developer get an opportunity to try the game and try their hand at NASCAR and see what kind of product we could get out there. Hopefully the fans really enjoy it. I’m excited to be a part of it in any way possible. It’s one of my favorite hobbies and I look forward to seeing the job they did.”

As much as Earnhardt Jr. is up for the challenge of a video game, he never has really developed an appreciation of the so called “social networks” that is the electronic rave these days. Most of his NASCAR contemporaries have “Twitter” accounts and spend a lot of time sending and receiving instant messages.

When asked why the leader of the “Junior nation” chose not to participate in the “Twitter nation” Earnhardt said “I used to have a My Space Dot Com page and I used to have a “Face Book Dot Com” page; I don’t anymore because it was just too much responsibility. I felt like you had to plug in and be involved with it so much and I just thought that personally I don’t need to do it. I understand it and we utilize the business side of it and it works for JR Motorsports and it helps us there. But, personally, it would be fun for about a month and then I would start to feel like it was a job, where people expected me to do it. I’ve had some other drivers tell me that some of the people aren’t too nice about it. (Laughing) So that part of it, why do I need to put up with it anyway? But, if I don’t have to put up with it, why do I want to bring that into my life?”

That’s a perfectly logical reason when you’re NASCAR’s most popular driver and you practically live your life in a fish bowl. Despite that Earnhardt hasn’t one hundred percent ruled out using the social network. “I think never say never, but with my experience with “My Space” and “Facebook”, which worked great, I ended up in the end going this isn’t necessary for me. It was fun trying to be cool, and creating your page and being the hipster that you thought you were, but in the end, I needed to get outside and I just needed to get rid of it. It just wasn’t for me, I guess,” he said.

Can you imagine the “Twitter” followers this man would accumulate in a short amount of time if he did open an account?

By the way, attention Activision, send this man a copy of your new video game. If he likes it, and he probably will, then he will become the best thing that has ever happened to your marketing plan.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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