Dale Jr. jokes he likes hanging out with ‘pal’ Jimmie Johnson more than ‘uncle’ Jeff Gordon

With Dale Earnhardt Jr. set to make his debut on NASCAR on NBC’s broadcast of the second half of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season in Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN), the recently retired driver is making the media rounds in New York.

Thankfully for us, this included a trip to the always-insightful “Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday.

Patrick is a master interviewer, and has such a rapport with Earnhardt that the pair often dives headfirst into deep subjects, showcasing a side of the former Hendrick Motorsports driver not often displayed. It’s why Patrick often cites Earnhardt as his favorite interview.

MORE: Junior opens up on childhood, relationship with father to Dan Patrick

Wednesday’s show was no different — they quickly got into Earnhardt’s recent foray into fatherhood, the background of his seemingly-sudden retirement and more — but not before starting off on a light note …

… as in, which NASCAR driver he’d want to drive him around “The Big Apple” in a taxi cab.

“Jimmie (Johnson). Jimmie had a place in New York City, so he knows the town a little bit, he knows where he’s going.”

Patrick then pointed out that Earnhardt’s former HMS teammate and current NASCAR on FOX commentator Jeff Gordon also had a place in NYC.

“He did. I enjoy being around Jimmie a little bit more than Jeff,” Earnhardt, age 43, said. ” … I dunno, Jeff’s older and he’s kind of like my elder, where Jimmie and me are kind of pals. It’d be like hanging out with my best friend versus, maybe, my uncle. That kind of thing.

“I don’t even know (what the age difference is), maybe four years? He got started so young, it seems like he’s been around forever.”

Regardless, everyone knows it pays in life to have both a best friend and a cool, fun uncle that can get you fireworks, which we’ve heard Junior has a penchant for.

We now go live to Gordon, 46, who managed to sneak into the back seat of the cab of Johnson, 42, and is Periscoping the trip.