342 – Ty Norris: Nothing is Off Limits
Former Dale Earnhardt Inc. Executive VP and GM Ty Norris sits down with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a conversation packed with honesty and emotion about their time together at DEI and beyond.
Along with co-host Mike Davis, Dale Jr. first gets into Ty’s current role as President of Trackhouse Racing. Ty explains what he has been doing to build this new team with Justin Marks and their vision for the organization.
Ty shares his career path leading to his prominent roles in the sport, how he aspired to be a sports writer and worked at Dover International Speedway for years before getting an opportunity with RJ Reynolds in his first public relations role. Then he details building a relationship with Dale Sr. and how The Intimidator saved his job at one point.
After RJ Reynolds, Ty explains what he learned about race team culture while working for Felix Sabates as the team’s GM – a role he said he was nowhere near qualified for. Ty served as a spotter for multiple drivers in his career but hear how his first time spotting for Kyle Petty went.
Then Ty transitioned to working as a loyal lieutenant for Dale Sr. at DEI. Hear how Dale laid out his vision and what kind leader he was as Ty assisted him in building the organization. After Dale’s death in 2001, Ty explains why he described the company as splintered and who he thinks could have saved it. Dale Jr. weighs in on when he lost faith in DEI following his father’s vision.
Hear the story of what Dale Jr. did when he and teammate Michael Waltrip hadn’t been paid in months and how it ultimately led to Ty’s dismissal from the organization after being offered a bad deal.
Davis inquires about when Ty and Dale Jr. believe DEI was in its golden years and what made the team so successful. Ty compares the company’s trajectory to the sports rise and how that got to the team’s heads. Find out what Bill France Jr. told Ty that changed his approach to help lead the team and how it unfolded.
Learn about Ty’s business relationship with Teresa Earnhardt before and after Dale Sr.’s death in 2001. Ty explains his perspective on her leadership and trust issues, and his experience working closely with her.
As Dale Jr.’s spotter early in his career, Ty was on the roof for the 2001 Daytona 500. Hear about the finish from his vantage point, what he was thinking in the closing laps and what he anticipated unfolding before the unthinkable happened.
The table conversation shifts to Ty’s role as EVP and GM at Michael Waltrip Racing. Ty played an integral part in the 2013 Richmond race scandal and was suspended as a result. He tells all about what happened that night, taking accountability for his actions and explaining deeper innerworkings involving many teams in that race. Hear why he thinks NASCAR had to do something after that event and his reaction to taking the harshest penalty in the sport’s history.
Ty leaves us with more stories from his time at DEI. Hear why so much beer was delivered to Dale Jr.’s house. Why Dale Jr. tried to fire a guy on his team that he didn’t want to invite to a party. The time when Ty visited Dale’s house after a party one morning and the scene that he and Dale Sr. saw.
Then Dale Jr. tells the story about the greatest conversation he ever had with his dad. Hear what happened when Dale Jr. wrecked at Charlotte and went home while his team fixed the car at the shop. Ty fills in details about the story that Dale Jr. didn’t remember, including hearing Dale stand up to his dad.
It’s an open and honest conversation about the good, bad and ugly of Ty’s career. Both Dale and Ty tell stories of The Intimidator’s faults that show he was an imperfect human, like us all.
In a special edition of Ask Jr. Presented by Xfinity, Dale Jr. fields questions from JR Motorsports employees, discussing big wins for the team, good vs. great drivers and someone’s freakish strength.
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