Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- one of the most diehard Washington NFL fans on Earth -- says he's STOKED the team is changing its name ... calling the old moniker "a dark cloud" over the franchise.
"For me, personally, I’m ready for a new chapter," the NASCAR legend said on his Dale Jr. Download podcast this week.
"I'm ready for this conversation to no longer be part of my experience as a fan of the team, and the debate over this and the frustration over it and how it affects the franchise."
Dale's been ride-or-die with Washington for decades ... he's got all sorts of memorabilia and often publicly comments about the team after wins and losses.
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
So, when team owner Dan Snyder pulled the plug on the "Redskins" name ... everyone was wondering if Dale approved -- and the 45-year-old said wholeheartedly yes.
"It's a dark cloud over it all the time and it’s not going away," Earnhardt Jr. said of the name. "And, it’s hard to continue to support the franchise when this is part of the conversation."
"So, I'm great to break completely clean and start an entirely new identity and future. I think it will be great for the organization, the people that work in that company, the players that play for that team and anybody that plays for that team in the future. So, I'm good with it."
Dale didn't give any suggestions for a new name ... although he did seem to like the rumored "Red Wolves" option -- saying the fanbase could have fun with that one.
But, regardless, Dale claims he'll be happy with anything Snyder picks next ... adding, "Finally good that it's happening and we can move on."