So Dale Earnhardt Jr has a pit crew change and everyone in the Junior Nation thinks that will solve all the problems regarding Junior and all the issues involved with Junior and his high performance Hendrick team.
At some point Junior has to take some responsibility for his lack of production.
He has only one win in his two seasons of racing for the most technologically advanced team in NASCAR that has seen all of its drivers win a race over the same time span, this includes his own driver Brad Keselowski, who won at Talladega, a place Junior owned , as a subsidiary of Hendrick Motorsports.
Is the pressure too much? Is the mounting pressure of racing in a Hendrick car too much to handle on a daily basis?
Or has Junior been just the personality with Madison avenue behind him, just looking to sell jeans and soft drinks?
Of course Junior wants to win! He’s got 18 career wins and has some of the most glorious moments in NASCAR history.
Look at 2001 when he won one of the greatest races in NASCAR history when he won the 2001 Firecracker in the first race there after his father died at Daytona. His wins at Talladega that would go on for three more seasons that saw him win five of six races there made him an icon.
Despite rumors of the DEI team using creative technology to accelerate speed in restrictor plate races, the Junior Nation was born. He was winning and winning at tracks hid father dominated at. The edge DEI had over the other teams was apparent after Michael Waltrip won a few plate races after not winning any races in his entire career.
The DEI Junior team won a few more on other tracks, but his legacy was set on the plate race where he was better than anyone else.
Some in NASCAR speculated that the DEI team was bypassing the alternator with power and giving the power straight to the engine giving these plate engines some more power, more than anyone else. Nothing was ever proved. But they definitely did something to be so good for so long in the plates.
Fast-forward to 2009 where Junior is mired 19th in points and looks to be from a team looking for sponsors like Joe Nemechek rather than being a team sponsored by NASCAR’s elite owner Rick Hendrick who has won three straight titles as a car owner.
So what’s the problem? Is it possible that Junior is having too fun being a bar owner with mechanical bulls in Charlotte? Does he think that his star power will outlast his actual performance?
Whatever the case me be, Junior has been awakened. He can’t save his family member, and he can’t recreate success of yesteryear just yet. Time to get back to racing and do what you know best, and focus!
Perhaps all the hype went to his head too early. Even Robbie Gordon can get a third place finish in 2009, time to step up.
Maybe the wicked Stepmother, Theresa Earnhardt, knew what she was doing when letting Junior go. Time will tell!
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