352 - Jerry Nadeau: Racing Was My Life

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Two racers, two head injuries. One that ended a promising career. This week on The Download, Dale Earnhardt Jr sits down with former NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau.

Nadeau answers Dale's curiosity about how he even came on the NASCAR scene in the first place. From racing go-karts in Connecticut to racing overseas, it is an unlikely path and a very sudden arrival into NASCAR. From living all over Europe with a suitcase full of foreign money to becoming an unlikely American speedster at Brands Hatch, Nadeau eventually made it to NASCAR and quickly to one of the top teams of the sport, Hendrick Motorsports.

His time with Hendrick was short but had flashes of brilliance. He reminisces about the time he beat Earnhardt and got the ultimate post-race gesture. From wood chips in the springs to fast cars, there was no doubt he was at a place that wanted to win. Unfortunately, the success was few and far between. Conflict arose and Nadeau was let go from his ride.

The very next year, while growing with a brand new team, it was over. A horrific crash at Richmond International Raceway ended his career and nearly his life. The brain trauma he suffered caused immense life change. Where would he go? What would he do? Nadeau opens up about his rehab, recovery, and struggles to find purpose outside of racing.

He doesn't remember much from that fateful day. What he does know, he details with Dale and co-host Mike Davis. Jerry reveals a seat adjustment that he made that may have impacted his head injury in the 128-g accident.

Dale Jr shares his own personal battle with concussions and connects with his former competitor on head injuries and how to move on from them.

Before Nadeau arrived at the studio, Dale Jr had the entire room in stitches. He details life at his vacation home and how he had an epic battle with rats that included traps and, of all things, soap. What happened at the beach, doesn't stay at the beach. In what Amy Earnhardt called "life-saving" Dale Jr. talks about how an almost unthinkable act, took away all of the pain from a jellyfish sting. Oh, and if that wasn't enough when Dale got home he had a battle with a pack of angry wasps that took residence in his daughter's playhouse.

During AskJr presented by Xfinity, Leah drops a wide variety of questions from getting Dale's take on the potential of street courses in NASCAR to his only motorcycle. Then, in a surprising turn, we find out the incredible resolution of the great boat debate.

That and much more on this episode of The Download.

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366 episodes