Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Bringing His Massive Key West Renovation to TV (Exclusive)

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. is switching gears. 

The NASCAR star announced his retirement from full time racing last year, and welcomed his first child, daughter Isla Rose, earlier this month. Now, in addition to his new role as dad, he's got one on TV, as he and his wife Amy are taking their Key West renovation to the DIY Network. 

The four-part series, Renovation Realities: Dale Jr. & Amy, follows Earnhardt and his wife, an interior designer, on their journey to transform a dilapidated 150-year-old historic home in Key West, Florida -- and as they found out, it's quite the bumpy road. 

"I had no idea [what I was getting myself into]," Earnhardt joked to ET over the phone on Tuesday. "I was just really worried about it being good." 

DIY Network

The race car driver and his wife, who have been homeowners in Key West for the last decade, bought the historic home four years ago with the intention of just cleaning it up around the edges. It was only recently that they decided to commit to the renovation, and bring a camera crew along to capture the whole thing. 

"Aside from us being involved, we thought the actual renovation itself would be very interesting to people because of the process you had to go through working in the old town, getting their permission to be able to change the house or replace anything, it's really very tedious. And you'll see that in the show," he explained. "It was a lot of hard work by a lot of people to put it together, and we're finally have something to show everybody." 

The Historical Society wasn't the only obstacle to overcome -- in addition to termite and bee infestations and a crumbling foundation, the crew (both construction and film) were set back by Hurricane Irma last fall. For Earnhardt, however, it was the home's rising construction costs that kept him up at night. "There was a lot of worry during the process about the expense of it. It's a very crazy renovation to take on a house that's in such bad shape," he confessed. "That was probably the worst part, just that pain in your gut -- what if this doesn't go right, or what if we get ourselves in a financial hole that is hard to stomach?" 

The couple wrapped up their home in March, and now, Earnhardt's looking forward to getting good use out of their new backyard. "The swimming pool, the lanai, kitchen area, the whole experience [is my favorite part of the house]," he revealed. "When you go down to Key West, you want to enjoy yourself and be out on the back deck and in the pool, and that place has to be right, you know?" 

DIY Network

And while the entire house turned out beautifully, Earnhardt's not exactly racing into another renovation. "We don't have any plans to do this again. You never say never, but this, basically was the perfect situation where we had the property, we were interested in physically being involved in the renovation, and HGTV was interested in filming it and putting it out to the public," he said. "This was kind of a unique, one-off feel, and I think that's what really makes it most fun for people -- this is something you didn't expect to see us do, or something we didn't expect to see ourselves involved in."

"And Isla has definitely slowed things down for a while," Earnhardt noted of his four-week-old daughter, who he says is still developing her personality. "I hope she creates her own path. I hope she does whatever she wants to do, and we'll certainly support her." 

Renovation Realities: Dale Jr. & Amypremieres Saturday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on DIY Network. 


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