From the pole position to the plumbing pipes in Key West

On April 25, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his retirement at the end of the 2017 season.
On April 25, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his retirement at the end of the 2017 season. Charlotte Observer

Dale Earnhart Jr. has 26 victories on the NASCAR circuit, including two Daytona 500 wins. He’s retiring this year when the NASCAR season ends in Homestead in November.

But ending his career in South Florida doesn’t mean an end to Earnhardt and South Florida. Early next year, he’ll star in a DIY Network (Do It Yourself Network) show featuring him and his wife Amy fixing up an Old Town Key West house, upgrading wiring, plumbing and the structure itself. The show will be four half-hour episodes, likely broadcast next February.

Here’s how DIY describes it on its website: “The series will follow Dale and Amy as they transform a dilapidated historic home into a gorgeous modern retreat in the Old Town historic district.... ” The show will “combine Dale’s love of home improvement with Amy’s interior design expertise.”

On his website www.dalejr.com, Earnhardt says: “We bought this property in Key West a long time ago. We didn’t know what to do with it. And I was trying to figure out a way to renovate it but stay reasonable on our expense. And we also had some friends that we knew at the DIY Network and HGTV. And we reached out to those guys and said ‘hey, we really want to renovate this property.’

“There’s kind of a cool process that you go through in Key West with the [Historic Architectural Review Commission] on how you can renovate homes down there and what you can fix and can’t fix. Like if you have a rotten board, they only let you replace the rotten area. You’ve got to keep the rest, and so on. And they go through the whole house, sort of picking apart what you can and can’t fix. So, I was thinking this would make a great show.”

He adds: “The historical folks, the folks down there that are in charge of the Old Town, you can’t just demolish houses. They want everything to look the same and look like it’s been for a hundred years.”

A search of the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s Office doesn’t list Earnhardt as owning a house in Monroe County but that likely means because it’s owned by a corporate or other entity.