2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Living Up to Hype

Thayne HallyburtonCorrespondent IApril 8, 2008

Although Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has yet to win a points-paying race in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, he has accomplished what was expected of him.

Hendrick Motorsports has admittedly struggled thus far this season, and they have been working diligently to find out why and how to get back on track.

Last season, Hendrick Motorsports took home 18 wins in the 36 races on the Sprint Cup schedule, but are still without a win in seven races this season.

Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are the four drivers making up the most talented stable of drivers in the series. No one at the start of the season would have pegged them to be winless this far into the Sprint Cup schedule.

Listening to NASCAR radio driver channels this past weekend, and a few before it, you would routinely hear Earnhardt, Jr. cursing his race car and the way it was handling.

This past weekend in Texas, he radioed to his crew chief, Tony Eury, Jr.

"This car is *bleeping* terrible,” Earnhardt, Jr. said.  “I can barely hang onto it. Just do something and get me a top ten car.”

All year, conversations have been going on like this, and still he continually drives the car into the top 10. It currently sits fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings.

Last year many said teammates Johnson and Gordon were better drivers than Earnhardt, but they currently sit sixth and 14th in the points respectively.

Earnhardt has out-performed his teammates all year.

The car quality is out of his control, but any questions about his driving ability have all been silenced.