During Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s childhood, there was no place like home for the holidays. The racecar driver exclusively told Us Weekly about how his late mother, Brenda Jackson, gave him unforgettable Christmas memories.
“She lived in Norfolk, and we would go there as kids, and I swear, you couldn’t fit another present under the tree,” Dale Jr., 45, said at the NASCAR Awards Show at Music City Center during the recent NASCAR Champion’s Week in Nashville, Tennessee. “She just spoiled us to death with gifts and presents. … She just went overboard and I don’t know how she did it on the salary that she had.”
Jackson — who welcomed Dale Jr. and his sister, Kelly, with the late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. before their divorce — died in April at age 65 following a cancer battle. “I’m glad her suffering has ended and she can be at peace,” Dale Jr. tweeted at the time. “She will live in our hearts forever.”
Now Dale Jr. is crafting new holiday traditions with Amy, his wife of nearly three years, and Isla Rose, the couple’s 19-month-old daughter.
“Me and my wife spent Thanksgiving in Key West, where we have a home, and we’ve done it for the last several years, and I enjoy doing that,” he told Us. “And in the nice warm weather for Thanksgiving, it’s kind of a unique experience, so we’ve enjoyed that.”
He went on: “And you know, my wife’s from Texas, so [we’re] going to spend Christmas with her family in Texas. It’s amazing. I’ve learned so much about the state and it’s almost like a second home to me now.”
Earnhardt and his wife and daughter have a lot to give thanks for this year, after all three survived a fiery plane crash in Tennessee in August. The trio were traveling in a plane that slid off the runway at Elizabethton Municipal Airport, hit a fence and burst into flames. The racer was hospitalized with minor injuries. “We’re very, very blessed, very lucky and very thankful,” he said later, per Motorsports.com. “I just feel very lucky, of course.”
With reporting by Lexi Ciccone
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