Year of Junior: Earnhardt matures with age, adversity

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Standing in a hooded blue sweatshirt, jeans and tennis shoes, Dale Earnhardt Jr. might have passed for a student Thursday at Piper High School.

That is if he hadn’t been holding the rapt attention of 500 teenagers in the gymnasium like a dashing quarterback at a pep rally. Sprinkling self-effacing humor into his folksy diction, Earnhardt faced probing questions for nearly 30 minutes.

How do you unwind from going 150 mph? (“I watch the late NFL game.”) Do you really like Wrangler jeans? (“Yeah, they don’t wear too bad.”) What’s your most embarrassing moment?

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