Dirty Mo Media/Dale Jr. Download/YouTube
During an interview for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast, the Dale Jr. Download, Hank Parker shared some special and gripping conversations that he had with Dale Sr. prior to his death in 2001.
One particular conversation Parker shared with Dale Jr. was about Dale’s inability to show his kids how much he loved them. As Hank talked, it was clear that Dale Jr. had never heard the story before and appeared to be fighting back tears.
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Parker recalled a day that he and Dale were at his farm hunting and Hank got a call from his son, Hank Jr. When the father and son’s call ended, Dale told Parker, “I don’t know how to love my kid like you love your kid.” Hank told his friend, “We’re different, Dale. You love your kid just as much as I love Hank Jr., you just don’t know how to express it.”
Hank then told Dale Jr. that the elder Earnhardt was never able to express how much he loved his kids and acknowledged that Dale Jr. always felt like his dad only loved him when he won, to which Dale Jr. agreed.
“I’ve always wanted to get you and just grab ahold of your shoulders and tell you how hurt he was that he did not know how to express his love to you,” Hank told Dale Jr, who was clearly moved by the confession. “He teared up, and for “Big E,” The Intimidator, for him to share that with me showed me how tight we were at heart, as friends. But, it also showed me a side of him that was sad.”
Dale Jr, replied, “I’d have loved to have heard that story a long time ago.”
Parker is a renowned fisherman with two Bassmaster Classic wins to his credit (1979 and 1989), and is one of only four to have won more than once. He is also a member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame, and the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.
In the mid-90s, Hank dabbled in NASCAR racing but failed to qualify. Two of his sons competed in the NASCAR Busch Series, including Hank Parker Jr. who grew up with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Watch Hank Parker and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s emotional interview in the video below.