Dale Earnhardt Jr: Victory Lane Experience Will Lead to Daytona 500 Triumph
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is due.
He isn’t exactly on a hot steak and his recent trips to the winner’s circle have been non-existent. Still, Earnhardt will win the 2012 Daytona 500 thanks to the combination of experience and hunger.
He hasn’t won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race since the 2008 Lifelock 400. The pressure that comes with such a drought is long gone. Earnhardt is well aware that he’s riding a bad streak.
Everyone is betting against him. Because of that, failure isn’t newsworthy and success is a front-page story. Competing with that type of clarity will be a key to Earnhardt’s Monday victory.
Will Earnhardt win the 2012 Daytona 500?
Speed.com’s Mike Hembree reported of Jr.’s reminiscing of his Daytona triumph back in 2004. The driver was quoted describing the feeling of winning the sport’s greatest race and said (via Fox News):
"Everybody sort of has this mountain in front of them that they put in front of themselves that they want to climb. You just feel like you have realized your full potential. Everything is sort of just maxed out for the day."
While his W came eight years ago, Earnhardt still clearly remembers the feeling that comes with winning a Daytona 500. Because he’s experienced the incredible feeling firsthand, Jr. possesses a competitive edge over drivers who aren’t as passionate about finding a fix to their Daytona craving. He continued ranting about that surreal aftermath on the beach said:
“...But just for a moment, just for that one day, whether it is 30 minutes or an hour after you cross that finish line, you feel like it can’t get any better than this. It is a pretty incredible emotion. I feel so lucky to have had that opportunity to experience it. It is such a special moment.”
The only thing preventing Earnhardt from ending his drought and earning his second Harley J. Earl Trophy is another rain delay.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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