Treehouse Master Pete Nelson Gives Seal of Approval to Dale Jr.’s New Hideaway

Ron Lemasters | JR Motorsports | 3/9/2016

Dale Jr. News

Dale Jr.'s treehouse on Dirty Mo Acres will be featured on Friday's episode of "Treehouse Masters."

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 10, 2016) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. always wanted a treehouse.

He’s got one, and as you might imagine, it’s done in style.

Built on his farm, affectionately known as Dirty Mo Acres, he and long-time friend Sonny Lunsford headed up the construction of the house, based on a kit designed by Pete Nelson, host of the Animal Planet show Treehouse Masters.

Incidentally, Earnhardt Jr. and his new treetop domicile will make an appearance on Treehouse Masters Friday night (10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT).

“I’m excited,” Lunsford said. “I’ll be watching that, for sure.”

Lunsford has reason to be proud, since he was the foreman for the construction. The new building on the property didn’t just spring out of thin air, Lunsford said.

“Dale and I talked about having one, a little one, a long time ago, but we never did it,” he said. “Then he and Amy [Reimann, Dale Jr.’s fiancée] got to watching Treehouse Masters. Once that show started, we started talking about it again.”

Funny how that happens, isn’t it? To be clear, this isn’t the sort of thing you see every day. It’s a full-on construction project based on principles that are used the world over. Nelson’s kind of treehouse is a major investment.

“He [Nelson] was very expensive, but you get what you pay for,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “He sells the plans, and he’s gracious to do that. We went on his web site and found some plans, they’re about $100.”

Once the plans for Earnhardt’s getaway were obtained from Nelson Treehouse and Supply, Lunsford was put in charge of the construction. Nelson Treehouse & Supply is based in Fall City, Wash. (no pun intended!).

“Dale picked one out, and we got started engineering,” Lunsford said. “We already had the trees picked out, and it was just a matter of getting the plans to fit into the space.”

The project started in October of 2014, and was completed in the spring of last year, Lunsford said.

“We started clearing in October and getting everything ready,” he said. “We had an engineer plan it out, do the load-bearing calculations, and we positioned it for construction. We added posts where we needed to as well.”

Lunsford cut all the structural steel for the build, then tack-welded them together enough to get them to the JR Motorsports building, where they were welded fully by the fabrication shop.

“I cut all the steel, and I have a jig here at the shop on the farm,” he said. “I’d tack it up and get them welded, then take it to be powder-coated. They put two guys on the welding, and it took them a while to get it all together, all eight braces. The guy that did our engineering used to build piers on Lake Norman, and was used to working at elevation.”

Once finished, the front porch of the treehouse sits about 20 feet off the ground, and the back side is about 12 to 14 feet high. That required the use of block-and-tackle and ropes to build.

For Earnhardt Jr., it’s a refuge.

“It’s a great place to sit back, drink beer and relax, unwind a little bit,” he said. “Look across the woods out over the property and just take it all in.”

Nelson came out to see the completed project, and Lunsford said he was impressed.

“He loved it. He’s like me, because the first thing he did was get underneath and look at how we had everything built and laid out. He stepped back and said, ‘you fellows hit a home run on this one.’”

The staircase was one of the more difficult builds, Lunsford said.

“We had to float the staircase on poles in the ground, and we had to build sliders to account for the wind,” he said. “Those are pretty tall trees, 60 to 80 feet, and it’s on a hill.”

If you’re going to have your own treehouse—this one is insulated and wrapped with DuPont Tyvek in addition to being decked out tres chic on the inside, thanks to Amy—you might as well see a master builder to get it done.

Tune in to Animal Planet on Friday, March 11, at 10 p.m. ET and see just what Dale’s treetop getaway looks like.

Just four more days until Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drives into the Treehouse Masters season finale!

Posted by Treehouse Masters on Monday, March 7, 2016