NASCAR Great Jeff Gordon Gets Emotional About the Late Dale Earnhardt: ‘I Miss Him’

Jeff Gordan talks Dale Earnhardt friendship
Photo courtesy Jeff Gordon Instagram

Back in the day, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon couldn’t be more different, from their racing style to their upbringing to their loyal sets of fans. Because of this, the racing superstars often found themselves pitted against one another, eventually making up a rivalry that would remain a part of NASCAR history.

And then Gordon, along with the rest of the world, lost Dale Earnhardt in turn four of the 2001 Daytona 500.

[RELATED: Justin Timberlake Acknowledges NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon During Concert [Watch]]

And everything changed.

Fast forward 18 years, and Gordon still can’t get “The Intimidator” out of his head. On Thursday (Feb. 14,) FOX Sports 1 aired the special Unrivaled, which took an in-depth look at Earnhardt and Gordon’s relationship through the years. And at the end of the show, Gordon made a visit to the Dale Earnhardt Plaza in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

“I didn’t realize how important rivals were,” Gordon said, looking up at the Earnhardt statue. “I wish I had the confidence that he had to play into it, to build it up even more. You could easily say that’s what launched my career. As much as he messed with me, somehow on the inside I always thought that it was a sign of respect. He would have not said anything at all if he didn’t care. I respected the heck out of this guy. I loved racing with him, hated it at times, but overall my experience with Dale was incredible. I miss him. I know a lot of people do.”

And if that doesn’t bring you to tears, I don’t know what will.