by Bobby Markos
If you’ve ever listened to the Dale Jr. Download before, you know things have a tendency to get emotional. Dale and his co-host Mike Davis do a great job of creating a safe environment where guests feel comfortable letting their hair down and getting into tough subjects. This week’s episode is another instance of this, dealing with racing hardships, personal lows, suffering marriages and even the war in Afghanistan.
Dale Jr.’s old video gaming buddy and fellow Xfinity competitor Lyndon Amick rolled through the Bojangles Studio today to catch up and dive deep into his life and career. The conversation opens with some Amick family history, which dates back to his great-grandfather who started Amick Farms in Saluda County, South Carolina. Lyndon details that his family would clean chickens by hand and sell them out of the family car.
From an early age, Amick was drawn to driving and when he was 15 he attended races at Sugartit Speedway in Greer, South Carolina with a friend, which was an eye opening experience. Soon after he asked for money for his first go-kart and was off to the races, running a state-wide karting circuit at tracks like Palmetto, Conway and St. Matthews.
The chat rehashes Lyndon’s glory days in racing, when he won the 1996 NASCAR Goody’s Dash season championship. The following year he would move up into the Xfinity Series, and gives great insight into what it was like running a family-owned entry in one of the most competitive eras of the division’s history. Amick is honest about his difficulties in the racing world, and the decisions that ultimately led to him leaving the sport in 2003.
The second half of the discussion takes listeners into the National Guard, as Amick enlisted and swore into the service in May of 2003. Lyndon recounts his time in boot camp, the decision to reenlist, making rank, and getting called to Afghanistan in 2007 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. All parties present for the recording hung on Amick’s every word as he told the story of being involved in a firefight while deployed overseas.
Amick opens up about his personal struggles as well, both internally and martially with his wife Melanie. The interview goes over how Lyndon found his way back from his depths and what it took to get his life and marriage back on track. Listeners can expect one of the most personal and emotional Downloads to date.
During the Opening Segment, the guys talk about the big NASCAR weekend in Talladega that saw three first-time winners for the first time in history. Dale shares an exercise that he and Download producer Matthew Dillner had while he was doing play-by-play commentary, where Dale asked Matthew to record parts of the broadcast where he thought he made mistakes and share them today in the studio. The gang also discusses their time at the former Texas World Speedway while filming an episode of Lost Speedways earlier in the year.
The Ask Jr. portion of the show covers the infamous hot air balloon story from Dale’s Instagram stories over the weekend, Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a 1990 interaction at Talladega with Dale Sr, Mick Jagger’s recent stop in Charlotte and the addition of Jr’s race-winning #8 car to the Talladega racing museum. All of this and more on this week’s episode of the Dale Jr. Download - available on this website and all major podcast platforms.
Additional reading about our guest:
Hailing from Greenwood, South Carolina, Lyndon Amick quickly rose through the go-kart ranks into the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series in the late 1990s, finding himself the season champion in 1996. From there he entered the Busch Grand National series, racing there from 1997 to 2003. He would record ten top-10 finishes with a career best finish of 4th at Myrtle Beach Speedway in 1998.
Amick also made starts in the NASCAR Truck and ARCA series for Ken Schrader racing in 2000 and 2001, winning the spring ARCA date at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2000. Following the birth of his son and a crash at Talladega in 2003, Amick would retire from racing and enlist in the South Carolina National Guard. He would eventually rank as a sergeant with the Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion in the 118th Infantry Regiment, and would be deployed to Afghanistan in 2007.
Today, Amick and his wife Melanie own Affordables Apparel, a chain of women's clothing retail stores in South Carolina. They also own their own clothing line named Aiden Lane after their youngest daughter.