There are certain signature styles about a driver that makes them noticeably different. It perhaps could be being really tall like Michael Waltrip, Jeff Gordon when he drove a rainbow car, or even Carl Edwards' back flips.
As a young gun entering NASCAR's elite series, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a driver with a style nobody had ever witnessed before. He wasn't the typical "redneck" country driver that NASCAR drivers have been known to be.
Nope, not Earnhardt.
He listened to Hip Hop music along with Alternative rock and loved to party.
That alone set him apart from every other driver in NASCAR. But one thing that made 'Little E' noticeable was the backwards hat and short, dyed blonde hair. The backwards hat was a trademark of sorts for Earnhardt.
In a way it showed he was laid back but also very confident, which showed on the race track.
Earnhardt brought a new culture to NASCAR that also brought a younger and hipper audience to a sport that was growing rapidly. One of those people was me. I saw Earnhardt's laid back style with blonde hair and a backwards hat.
It was something I could relate to and led to me becoming a part of Junior Nation. I even went and bought a #8 Budweiser hat, wearing it backwards like my favorite driver.
He made me feel like I could be a part of this sport and still be a city slicker at the same time.
It's now been eight years since his rookie season and he, sadly, seems to have lost a bit of that swagger. Granted he's more mature and older now, when it all comes down to it, I miss the blonde, backwards hat-wearing Earnhardt.
He hasn't completely lost his swagger.
He still listens to Hip Hop and Alternative rock music, but the swagger seems to be gone when he's at the track.
I know that drivers wont necessarily listen to their fans all the time, but...
Bring back the swagger! Bring back the backwards hat, the clean face and the short hair. Bring back the ever growing confidence you seemed to have at the track.
Bring out the kid again, the young 20-year-old.
I understand if you don't, Earnhardt. You are more mature and older now. You're a veteran now and not a gun-slinging rookie with nothing to lose.
I miss the swagalicous Earnhardt.
p.s. If anybody knows how to get Junebug to read this, it will be greatly appreciated and will really bring joy to see that hat backwards again.