TV funnyman ... Dale Earnhardt Jr.?

July, 28, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn't think he's much of a comedian, but some of NASCAR's best and funniest commercials have featured him in a comic role.

There was the one in 2000 in which NASCAR's most popular driver and his father are in the backseat of a Chevrolet while the Tasmanian Devil drives. It's priceless as Earnhardt goes "blah, blah, blah, blah" while his father tells the Devil how to drive.

There was the one in 2004 in which Earnhardt drives long distance to return the lipstick to the date he had just seen off on a plane, only to find out it belonged to another woman. The look on his face is priceless when he learns it is not hers.

Now there's his latest Nationwide Insurance commercial with Danica Patrick, which will debut during Saturday's Nationwide Series race.

Patrick is shown on pit road talking about vanishing deductibles. As the camera pans down pit road to pit signs showing dollar figures the insurance will decrease, you hear laughter in the background as the final sign -- Danica's cell phone number, 480-388-0988 -- comes into the picture.

The camera then pans to Earnhardt, standing on pit wall, laughing and holding up his hand as though he's telling Patrick, "Call me."

It's one of three Nationwide commercials that debuted during the Indy Super Weekend. The other two are pretty straightforward and serious, the first with Earnhardt and Nationwide chief marketing officer Matt Jauchius and the second with Earnhardt and the Jarretts -- Ned and Dale -- talking about how long their families have used the insurance.

Despite Earnhardt's critique, his funny side wins out.

Hands down.

"I appreciate the sincere ones a bit more," Earnhardt said. "I feel like that's me, more genuine and more sincere. The funny stuff, I don't think I'm a good comedian.

"I do what they say. The sincere stuff, the stuff where they get really down to it, that's what I like."

Trust me, he's funny.

By the way, if you call the cell phone number, you'll hear Patrick's voice saying she can't get to the phone but she'll get right back to you.

It ends with her saying, "If you'd rather leave a message on how I can get back at Dale, that would be great. If I like your idea, I might just call you back."

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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