CUP: Earnhardt Jr. Making Changes

Before the rumors start that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is juicing — let’s not get lost in translation.

Think of it more as a dietary cleanse.

At 38, Junior is just attempting to regain — and maintain — his boyish figure. Last October he was tipping the scales at 190 pounds. Now, the driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy SS is weighing in around 175.

“A buddy of mine was talking about this detox diet, it’s like a 15-day deal and for the first eight days you drink prune juice and then the last half of it you drink carrot juice so they were just picking on me,” Earnhardt said of a few of his JR Motorsports employees. “Just misinformed, I’m not drinking it all the time, but just during that little detox thing.”

Over the last few years, Earnhardt has worked on his culinary talents. He’s also paid more attention to his nutritional intake. Still, Earnhardt acknowledges that balancing the cleanse with a healthy diet was a challenge.

“It was pretty tough, too,” Earnhardt said. “I was surprised I was able to make it. It was like just fish, chicken and raw, steamed vegetables — and then there was like two days where you just ate vegetables and fruit. That was pretty tough for me to not have any meat. I think the older you get the more you have to do to kind of maintain a healthy weight.”

Earnhardt admits there was a method to his madness — stopping the middle-age spread.

“That’s really what it’s about for me is just trying to maintain my weight so I don’t have to keep getting my driver suits altered throughout the season,” Earnhardt said. “Last year I was like, ‘Man, they’re shrinking, something is wrong with the washer.’ This offseason I lost a lot of weight, lost about 15 or 20 pounds and just trying to do a better job of managing my calories and stuff like that. I never really worried about it before. Just eat all kinds of stuff like pizza and wings and stuff every day and not really watching portion controls and stuff like that."

NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver won’t be giving up all junk food anytime soon. Nor will he discontinue his relationship with Hellman’s or KLN Family Brands which produces potato chips under the brand Dale Jr. Foods.

“Just getting out of control so reining all that back in, not getting too crazy about it though,” Earnhardt said. “I’m no health freak by no means.

“Well, you have to mix it in there every once in a while. It’s part of the recipes. Like I said, I’m not really a health freak or anything, but I am counting calories, I will say that.”