Dale Earnhardt Jr. has trouble remembering those frantic seconds when he escaped from his burning racecar. He believes, however, his late father figured into his survival.
"I don't want to put some weird, you know, psycho twist on it like he was pulling me out or anything, but he had a lot to do with me getting out of that car," the NASCAR star said. "From the movement I made to unbuckle my belt to lying on the stretcher, I have no idea what happened."
Earnhardt recalled that perilous July day in Sonoma, Calif., during an interview with correspondent Mike Wallace for "60 Minutes" that will be broadcast tomorrow on CBS.
Earnhardt's father was killed three years ago during the final lap of the Daytona 500 race. The son insists he felt his father's presence on the day when he scrambled out of his flaming car and was left with second-degree burns on his legs, neck and chin. In fact, he said, when he reached safety, he began inquiring about the "person" who helped him from the car.
Earnhardt told "60 Minutes" he grabbed one of his representatives by the collar, "screaming at him to find the guy that pulled me out of the car. He was like, 'Nobody helped you get out,' and I was like, 'That's strange because I swear somebody . . . had me underneath . . . my arms and was carrying me out of the car.' "
Wallace asks if that was his father.
"Yeah, I don't know," Earnhardt said. "You tell me. It . . . freaks me out today just talking about it. It just gives me chills."
-- From News Services