329 - Dr. Jerry Punch: Saving Lives
The life-saving trauma doctor and legendary NASCAR and college football TV broadcaster, Dr. Jerry Punch, joins Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a dive into Dr. Punch’s storied medical and commentating career.
From his days growing up in Newton, N.C., in the shadows of Hickory Speedway, Dr. Punch’s racing roots run deep. He shares about his childhood when he helped legendary drivers work on their cars and also getting behind the wheel himself.
After playing football at NC State under coach Lou Holtz, Dr. Punch pursued medical school. He tells Dale Jr. and co-host Mike Davis what made him want to become a doctor and how he spent his mental health days away from school and at the race track.
Ned Jarrett was like a second father to him and helped jumpstart his broadcasting career. Find out how Barney Hall missing an announcing gig at Hickory Speedway led to Dr. Punch’s first opportunity behind the microphone. Plus, learn about legendary Charlotte Motor Speedway PA announcer Bill Connell.
How did Dr. Punch balance medical school and a broadcasting career? He explains how one night his two careers intersected at Hickory Speedway when the world lost one of his heroes, Bobby Isaac. Then you won’t believe what almost happened next.
Dr. Punch is credited with saving the lives of drivers involved in accidents on the race track. He shares intense details of an accident involving Don Marmor in an ARCA race at Atlanta. Later, he walks us through the scary ordeal when Rusty Wallace flipped at Bristol Motor Speedway. Find out how Dale Earnhardt helped the situation and what he said to Dr. Punch afterward.
The Intimidator and Dr. Punch were close friends. However, their friendship didn’t necessarily start out on the best terms. Hear how Jerry tried to confront Dale Sr. one day at Martinsville.
Dr. Punch shares incredible stories of the side of Dale Earnhardt many people never saw. Hear how he offered to help Dr. Punch’s pregnant wife on a snowy North Carolina night. Also, a story not many know about the Intimidator making a dying boy’s wish come true.
After the Talladega accident that broke Dale Sr.’s collarbone, he called Jerry. Hear how the doctor's office visit went, details about the weekend he tried to race at Indianapolis, and the bone-chilling story about qualifying at Watkins Glen.
As Dale Jr. clinched his 1998 Xfinity Series championship, Dale Sr. joined Dr. Punch in the booth. Hear about the emotional moment for the proud dad. Then hear who was terrible at karaoke during the after-party that Dale Jr. doesn’t remember.
Dr. Punch was integral to the filming of Days of Thunder. He talks about the day Tom Cruise and Robert Towne shadowed him at Watkins Glen. Plus, how his input helped cast Nicole Kidman and shaped the medical scenes of the movie.
Hear insight about the relationship Bill France Jr. had with Dale Sr. Dr. Punch remembers a special moment they shared after the 2000 Daytona IROC race and the time Dale Sr. called France during an interview.
Memories from The Intimidator’s 2000 Talladega win are told as Dr. Punch broadcasted the race. He shares his perspective from the booth and what Benny Parsons said about the race while leaving the track.
After Noah Gragson's late-race incident at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Dale Jr. puts his co-team owner hat on and addresses the situation.
Plus, find out why Dale’s heart hurt hearing Steve Letarte stepped back into the crew chief role for one race. Hear why it brings back memories of when Dale found out Letarte was leaving the No. 88 team, which he shares openly in this therapy session with co-host Mike Davis.
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