What's Wrong With Dale Jr.? The Answer Is In The Early 1980's

Toby ChristieSenior Analyst IMarch 26, 2009

BRISTOL, TN - MARCH 22:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars into turn one during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 22, 2009 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The media, the fans, and the NASCAR outsiders all have one thing that they have asked in common through five races in 2009...what's wrong with Dale Jr.?

Well, let's see, where do we start?  Hmm, I know Dale Earnhardt Jr. only has one win in the past 41 races. Let's compare that to four-time Sprint Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon.  Gordon has not won a race in his last 45 starts, so whats wrong with Gordon? 

Not only that, but since Dale Jr. took over the No. 88 at Hendrick Motorsports at the beginning of 2008, only eight Sprint Cup drivers have more wins than him (Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, and Kurt Busch).

So, if we are gonna smash Dale Jr. we also have to ask what's wrong with Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, and 30 other Sprint Cup Series drivers, but for some reason the only thing we hear is that Dale Jr. has a problem.

I myself don't see there being a problem with any of the drivers above, if you look at the numbers since 2008 only three drivers have more than two sprint cup wins.  This reminds me of the early 1980s when NASCAR made a change much like the current change we have today.  The 1980s sleek boxes that were Winston Cup cars, were made into larger un-aerodynamic boxes that handled terribly, and the drivers were not happy... doesn't this sound familiar?

The new car in the 80's lasted from 1981 to 1983. In that time Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison dominated, winning three championships and 48 races between them in that time, while Dale Earnhardt won three races, Harry Gant only had three wins, and so on and so on...doesn't this sound familiar?

Racing is much like the economy and everything else, it is one large cycle, well it has come back around to the era of the big bulky race car, so what will happen for a few seasons is some teams will have it completely figured out while the rest of the teams are left chasing them looking for answers, but the other teams will catch up.  Hopefully, when they do we won't have to keep hearing the silly question...what's wrong with Dale Jr.(that guy who "only has eighteen career wins")?