Dale Earnhardt Jr. is passionate about fantasy football | Ekeler’s Edge

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler and Yahoo Sports’ Fantasy Analyst Matt Harmon are joined by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. The two-time Daytona 500 Winner is a longtime fantasy football fanatic. Dale Jr. admits his passion for the game overrides his excitement for fantasy NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new children’s book, “Buster’s Trip to Victory Lane.” is available now for preorder. The illustrated storybook teaches children to face their fears as they follow Buster-- a rescued race car who navigates new challenges and learns to never give up!Catch fresh episodes of Ekeler’s Edge every Wednesday on Yahoo Sports and your favorite social media platforms. Listen to Ekeler’s Edge on the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast wherever you get podcasts.

Video Transcript


DALE EARNHARDT JR.: I'm 4 and 0 after Sunday, last night.


Yeah, doing good.

AUSTIN EKELER: Let's go. Yeah.

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Things are going well.


MATT HARMON: Joining us now is NASCAR Hall of Famer, two-time winner of the Daytona 500, absolute legend from the great state of North Carolina, it's Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale, how are we doing, man?

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: I'm doing great. Just kind of cruising through the early part of the week here getting ourselves ready for another race weekend.

MATT HARMON: Dale, we've heard that you've played fantasy for a long, long time. How did you get started in this whole thing.

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Yeah, we've got a league. It's called the basement league. The reason why we call it the Basement League is because we do all the drafts at my house in my basement. I have a little bar downstairs. And that's just why we call it the Basement League. But it's been around for at least 15 years.


DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Probably more-- maybe more than that. It's about 12 of us. And I would say that six or eight are original members. It's a lot of fun. I enjoy it. And this year, I'm 4 and 0 after Sunday, last night.


AUSTIN EKELER: Let's go. Yeah.

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Things are going well.

AUSTIN EKELER: I was going to say, 15 years. That makes sense why you're so passionate about it. Right? And that's what I love about fantasy sports. There's obviously some toxicity in there. But for the most part, it brings people together. It keeps them invested in the game, in their selves, in the community. And it brings something that they're looking forward to every year during football season.

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: I'll tell you one thing that it did for me, Austin, is up until I played fantasy I just watched-- I was a big Washington Commanders fan. And I still am today. And--


DALE EARNHARDT JR.: It's been a difficult 30 years. But I only watched Washington games. Only, right? I really didn't care about any other team. And so when I started playing fantasy, man, I'm watching other teams. I'm learning about other players. I know all of these things about the game that I paid no attention to before. I was only probably tapping into about 10% of the enjoyment of the game--


DALE EARNHARDT JR.: --until I played fantasy.

AUSTIN EKELER: Is there a punishment for getting last? Do you guys have that in the Basement League.

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Basically, we do a $40 buy-in in our league. But the last place has to buy the $40 buy-in for the champion.


DALE EARNHARDT JR.: So yeah, last place is going to spend 80 bucks to get back into the league next year. I mean, I know there's probably more sensational punishments.

AUSTIN EKELER: It's all good.

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: But I always wondered, man, if when you have a sensational sort of thing that the loser has to do, I mean, how do you even hold that guy accountable? He could just balk, and walk away, and say, I don't even want to be in the league anymore if I've got to do that.

MATT HARMON: How familiar are you with fantasy NASCAR? Did it ever impact your driving career? Do you play now?

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Fantasy NASCAR wasn't super big back when I was racing. So I didn't get the kind of criticism that I think the guys probably get now. And you know what's funny is I play fantasy NASCAR now. We have a group of folks that kind of play. When a driver does bad, for whatever reason, I don't feel the same way I do when a player doesn't get the numbers right in my fantasy team.


DALE EARNHARDT JR.: It's so weird.

AUSTIN EKELER: OK. It's a different feel, huh?

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: But I don't know why. I really don't know why. Because it's the same thing. And you feel like a real loser when you don't do well.

AUSTIN EKELER: Right, right. I'm curious. Let's--

MATT HARMON: Dale, before we let you go, we do want to hear about your new children's book, "Busters Trip to Victory Lane." Tell us about that, man.

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Yeah I got the book right here. "Buster's Trip to Victory Lane," I'm the father of two girls. And when they came into my life, a lot of children's books started flooding the house. And I was really interested as to why they were attracted to just certain books. But hopefully down the road as I get older, I'll have guys and girls coming up to me saying, man, I read this book when I was little. And it's one of my favorite books when I was a kid. That'll mean a lot to me.

Buster goes through a lot of challenges and learns a lot about himself and his friends. But there's a lot of little Easter eggs in the book as well. Buster, the star of the book, that's my father's nickname when he was a little boy. There's a couple other little Easter eggs in there that connect to me personally that I'm proud of. But hopefully, people like it.

AUSTIN EKELER: Where can we find it?

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Anywhere books are sold. You can get it on Amazon preorder now.

AUSTIN EKELER: Absolutely appreciate you sharing that today. And I'm hoping that people can find some type of value within the story of Buster as well.

DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Well, I appreciate y'all all having me on. It's been great to talk to you, Matt. Austin, it's awesome to meet you. I can't wait to go on my fantasy chat and tell all my buddies that I got to talk to you today.


DALE EARNHARDT JR.: Yeah, they'll be excited to hear that. And I appreciate you guys giving me some time.