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NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. reflects on Daytona (VIDEO)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 - Practice

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JULY 03: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

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In both a revealing and emotional interview, Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat down with NBC Sports analyst -- and Junior’s former crew chief -- Steve Letarte prior to last weekend’s race at Daytona.

Even though it was 14 years ago, Junior reflected as if it was yesterday upon his return to Daytona for the first time after his father was killed nearly five months earlier in a last-lap wreck in the 2001 Daytona 500.

That first time back couldn’t have been more emotional, particularly with the way the July 2001 race ended with Junior in Victory Lane, which would be the first of four times he’d eventually take the checkered flag.

That includes two Daytona 500 wins (2004, 2014) and, of course, this past Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 for the second time in his career -- not to mention Junior’s 10th career win on a restrictor plate track.

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