As Dale Earnhardt Jr. emotionally announced his plans to retire at the end of the NASCAR Cup Series season, he threw in a couple jokes to lighten the mood.
He thanked his team and family for their support, but teased it wouldn’t be a proper NASCAR event without some sponsor recognition. Quite right.
In his 19th Cup Series season, Earnhardt has a lot of sponsors to thank, and Nationwide got a special nod for having worked with his family in racing for more than 30 years. But, as perhaps the second most famous athlete to work with the insurance company, Junior took a second to mention its work with the first.
Addressing Jim McCoy, director of sports marketing for Nationwide, around the 7:40-mark of the video, Earnhardt said:
And by the way Jim, I know you’re in the room, I’m just going to say what everyone else her ein the room is thinking. Your brilliant use of the retired Peyton Manning is to be commended, if not replicated.
Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Junior could definitely do something like this.
Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is getting used to retirement.
“There’s no doubt it’s been a transition,” he said earlier this week when he was at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium being honored by Marian University as the lone member inducted into the Clayton Family Circle of Honor. “It’s been welcomed and something I’ve really enjoyed.”
Manning, 41, a former Newman High and Tennessee star who became one of the greatest QBs in NFL history, retired before last season. He played 18 years as a pro, winning a Super Bowl each with Indianapolis and Denver.
In his 30-minute Q and A before the crowd in the town where he played his first 14 seasons as a pro, he revealed what keeps him busy now — driving his kids to kindergarten and being named member of the month last October because of his perfect attendance at the health club where he works out.
With no film to watch or games to play, Manning did many things in his first year away from the game. Besides he and his wife Ashley taking a trip to China, he attended Tennessee games and watched brother Eli play for the New York Giants. “I’ve retired from football but I have not retired from being on your television screen 24/7.”
Manning said he misses the people associated with football more than the game itself. He said he misses the camaraderie with his teammates, the time he spent with trainers, equipment managers and ballboys and plane rides home after victories.
“I don’t miss the hits,” he said. “People say, ‘I bet you miss those blindside hits.’ No. I was able to avoid the blindside hits a lot mainly because of you (looking out to the crowd). I’d hear you going, ‘Ahhhhh’ and I’d just scoot up. Just scoot up.”