A lot of people like Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a lot of different reasons: His daddy. His honesty. His talent as a racecar driver.
All those are good reasons, but here's my personal best one. Dale Jr. turned me onto "The Office," which has been my favorite TV show for several years now and gets my vote in my personal Top 3 of best comedies ever, joining "Seinfeld" and "Cheers."
I do this thing occasionally called "20 Questions" in the newspaper, when you take a big-time sports figure and ask him... wait for it.... 20 questions.
Anyway, Dale Jr. was one of my all-time best interview subjects for a lot of reasons -- he admitted to liking Barry Manilow, he was very genuine about his complicated relationships with his father and stepmother and so on. But when we got to a question about his favorite TV show, he couldn't stop talking about "The Office." I had never watched it, though I knew of star Steve Carell from "The 40-year-old Virgin" (a hilarious movie).
But Earnhardt was so enthusiastic about it he made me want to watch it, and now I can't get enough of it. And apparently he still can't either -- he told our David Poole not long ago that he would love to work in that fantasy office in Scranton, Pa., selling paper.
What "The Office" should do, of course, is get Dale Jr. on for a guest spot, as a delivery guy or something. He'd probably do it for free.
In the meantime, though, I thank Dale Jr. every Thursday night at 9 in the fall, when the new "Office" episodes come on. Maybe since qualifying got rained out Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, he even got to watch that one live. And listen, if you've never tried "The Office," take it from me and Dale Jr.