Dale Earnhardt Jr, the worst 'Most Popular Driver'
How can you be considered the best when you can't win?
Earnhardt, a name that will live on forever. My question is: Why should Earnhardt, Jr. live on forever. Dale Jr. has risen through the rankings fast after his fathers death and is currently one of the most popular drivers, racing on one of the hottest teams in his sport. Even with all of this he still can't muster up a 1st place finish.
Earnhardt, Jr. has become an eight time winner of NASCAR's 'Most Popular Drive', all of them coming consecutively over last eight years. Since coming into, what is now called, the Sprint Cup Series in 1999 he has raced in a total of 399 races. Of these 399 races, he has only made it to winner's circle 18 times. This seems like a lot and my point seems invalid until you realize that he has only won one race in the past four years and only three in the last six years.
Since 2004, the year the Winston Cup changed to the Nextel Cup, 11 other drivers have won more races then him. These drivers include Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, and others. Along with this extremely horrible display of racing is the fact that he has never won the championship. I know that the best driver doesn't always win it but he has finished an average of 15th place in the points, and never finished better then 3rd, in 2003 and 2004.
Over the past two years he has finished 21st and 25th in the points race, well out of the chase, and who was to blame? Everyone but Dale, that's who. Since switching to Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt has been catered to. He had his crew chief replaced and even had his pit crew switched. In 2007 Rick Hendrick claimed that 'If he's winning, it's because of his talent...If he's not, it's because of my not giving him good stuff. That's the way fans will look at it.' I completely agree with this statement and still don't understand why Hendrick would bring in someone who expected to be catered to.
In closing I would like to state that Earnhardt, Jr. needs to win and stop blaming every loss on other people. He needs to step out of his fathers glory and earn his own. That's all i have for him. As for the fans, you are pitiful. I understand sticking with your driver, because I am a fan of the Charlotte Bobcats and Carolina Panthers, but I never blamed John Fox for Jake Delhomme's interceptions and I never called Jerry Richardson and idiot for not catering to Steve Smith. In the end, just realize that he is not that good, and it's about time he stopped receiving the star treatment from everyone.
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