Fryer: Earnhardt blossoms into multimedia personality

Dale Earnhardt Jr., team owner and TV analyst, answers questions during a news conference before the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., in this Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, file photo. There's a pointed episode in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s television show that encapsulates Earnhardt's remarkable transformation from a bashful third-generation racer into a multimedia personality. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - There's a pointed episode in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s television show that encapsulates his remarkable transformation from a bashful, third-generation racer into a multimedia personality.

Earnhardt and his crew of storytellers-slash-ghost chasers-slash-racing enthusiasts are filming the second season of "Lost Speedways" at Myrtle Beach Speedway, the South Carolina track where Earnhardt says he learned "to be a racecar driver." His father had picked Myrtle Beach nearly 30 years ago as the proving grounds to launch his son's career, and the episode "Goodbye, Dear Friend," is Earnhardt's farewell to the speedway that shuttered late last year.

Footage shows a rail-thin 18-year-old who clearly had no idea where his career was headed. Earnhardt was happy racing late models, learning about cars and bartering for dinner with a fellow racer who was sponsored by a fried chicken chain.

"He