KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not a home improvement expert.

Nor is he planning to play one on TV.

But it turns out Earnhardt and his new wife, Amy, are starring in a miniseries on the DIY Network next year that will chronicle their renovation of a home in the historic Old Town district of Key West, Florida.

"We were talking to (the networks) 2 1/2 years ago, 'Can we do this? Would this be interesting to them?'" Earnhardt said Friday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. "And we finally got it agreed upon to put it together. It's going to be four episodes and it's not going to take a ton of my time, but I definitely want to be involved."

Besides, it's Amy Earnhardt who has the interior designing chops.

 

Now, this isn't exactly a retirement plan for NASCAR's most popular driver, who is stepping aside after this season. But rather it's a project that has been in the works for a couple of years, and one that has an ulterior motive that everybody can relate to: money.

"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 find a way to renovate it but stay reasonable with our expense," Earnhardt said. "We also have some friends we knew at the DIY Network and HGTV, so we reached out to these guys and said, 'Hey, we really want to renovate this property.'"

This isn't like tearing down some drywall and throwing up some paint, though. The home's historic nature means that the local historical society has a whole lot of say in what is going on. If a board is rotten, you replace the rotten part. You don't replace the whole board.

The television show is just another example of how Earnhardt has come out of his shell late in his career. The longtime social-media holdout has begun to embrace those platforms, giving his fans an opportunity to connect in new and unexpected ways.

"When I first started racing, I didn't want to do anything but drive. I hated doing appearances and photo shoots and all that. I thought that was so boring," Earnhardt said. "I didn't understand how important they were how, critical they were to the happiness and marketing of the partner.

"A lot of it is maturing," he explained. "I don't think I was impossible but, you know, there were days I was hard to work with or hard to deal with, and I didn't want that reputation when I was finished driving. I wanted people to say, "I was fun to work with, fun to be with."

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