CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he had no interest in racing again in the first days following his father's death during the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
"After that happened I never wanted to see another race track or another race car again," Earnhardt said Wednesday during the annual NASCAR media tour in Charlotte, N.C. "We went to Rockingham [the next race], I felt responsible to go, but I didn't want to be there. But after a week I got to thinking, 'What am I going to do? My dad gave me this opportunity."
Earnhardt says he understands people wanting to reflect on the Intimidator's legacy leading up to the 10-year anniversary of his father's death on Feb. 18, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.
"Everyone wants to reflect and honor my father at this time," he said. "What I enjoy is hearing other people talk about him, not me."
Still, he says, he'd rather stay on the sidelines when the time comes.
"I'll be happy to observe everything that goes on. If it's something big, if it's something small, whatever it is," he said.
"But if you don't mind I'd just rather watch it; stand on the sidelines. ... I know how I feel in my heart and I don't feel the need to discuss it a lot."