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Dale Earnhardt Jr. opens up about being away from new baby daughter for first time

"I’ve been with her for the first eight weeks of her life and able to pick her up and hold her at any moment."
/ Source: TODAY

Retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who makes his debut this weekend as a NASCAR analyst for NBC Sports, lives life in the fast lane — but he certainly treasures every moment.

The new dad joined TODAY on Saturday to talk about shifting gears from the racetrack to the broadcasting booth, all while cherishing time with his new baby daughter.

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Earnhardt and his wife, Amy Earnhardt, welcomed their first child, Isla Rose, just last month. While Earnhardt's excited to take on his new NBC role, the erstwhile racer is still counting down the hours until he gets to return to his newborn.

“I miss her terribly," he told TODAY's Craig Melvin, Dylan Dreyer and Sheinelle Jones. "I’ve been on the phone with mom — with Amy — all weekend. Amy’s sending me pictures and videos trying to tide me over until I get to go back home Sunday after the race to see her."

The new NASCAR analyst broadcasts from Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, this weekend, miles away from his North Carolina home.

“I’ve been with her for the first eight weeks of her life and able to pick her up and hold her at any moment," Earnhardt said. "It’s really rough being away from her this weekend, so I can’t wait to get back home and have more time with her."

The little one joins a family of racers who care most about their time spent together. Earnhardt’s father — legendary NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Sr. — shared the NASCAR world with his son from the start.

At least somebody’s gettin some sleep around here. #momlife

A post shared by Amy Earnhardt (@mrsamyearnhardt) on

“Some of my fondest memories are wins when [my dad] was with me in victory lane,” Earnhardt said last week on Megyn Kelly TODAY. The father-son duo fused a love for the sport with a love for family.

And who knows, maybe little Isla Rose will see a future in racing, too!