Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Frustration May Drive Him to a Win

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IApril 21, 2010

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 16:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 16, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was spewing frustration after the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

For Dale Jr., it should have been considered a good run that took him from 10th to seventh in the points standings.

He led nearly 50 laps and had a top-five car most of the race.

Lance McGrew, his crew chief, was able to make positive adjustments to the car even after Jr. ranted over the radio saying, "I am wrecking all around the track."

The driver of the No. 88 Amp Energy car is starving for a win. He has now gone 65 races in his winless streak.

Dale Jr. knew he had a good car going into the race. He appeared to have his swagger back and had his hat turned backwards, which usually indicates he is feeling confident.

The fact he was able to lead the race and run up front gave him a taste of the competitive performance he longs to regain.

Earnhardt Jr. downplayed the fact his car was able to win. In his opinion the car was more of a fifth-place finisher.

Naysayers will jump up and accuse him of offering excuses for his driving. He appeared able to run for the win, yet he finished in eighth position.

The No. 88 car was said to be a little off in the corners, being tight going in and loose off.

McGrew gave him two tires for his final restart from third position. The winner, Denny Hamlin, had taken two tires but blasted to the front in clean air.

With two tires, Jr. just did not get a good start in the pack of cars racing hard to get to the front. He was pushed near the fence and got shuffled back further than he intended to be at the end of the race.

His top-10 finish was less than satisfactory as he openly displayed disgust after the event at TMS.

No, he isn't whining because he didn't get a top-five finish. A combination of intense frustration, the red flag delay, and messy restarts all contributed to his disappointment.

Dale Jr. did have a good day in Texas. He was proud of the hard work his team did, though he admitted there was still work to do.

His teammate Jeff Gordon is becoming aggressive on the track, having been so close to winning yet denied.

Earnhardt Jr. is getting back into a race-winning mindset. He has turned a corner with his team and knows they are capable of getting his car up front.

His hunger for a win is just as strong as Gordon's desire to finish up front. Both are driven to end these NASCAR Sprint Cup races in front of Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, are possibly the strongest motivating factor for other teams to step up their game and start winning. The annoyance of Jimmie sliding to the front at the end of each race is really amping up the frustration level with many drivers.

Now Dale Jr. will head to Talladega Superspeedway. He has five wins, eight top-fives, and 11 top-10 finishes there for an average of 14.0.

The cars will be faster and handle better with the spoiler on the high banks. Both factors should bode well for Dale Jr.

People are quick to bandy about comments implying Jr. has too many distractions in his life. They say he doesn't focus on his racing the way he should.

Make no mistake—Dale Jr. is a racer, and he wants a win badly. He is going to win this season, and he will make the chase.

The fact Kasey Kahne is moving to Hendrick Motorsports will be one more factor to motivate him. He needs to prove that Rick Hendrick did not over-estimate his talent as a driver.

Rumors abound already about where certain drivers are going to go and who is going to start a Sprint Cup team. There will be changes with Jr. and JR Motorsports, but the timing is a big unknown at present.

Will Dale Jr. be an owner/driver? Who are Mark Martin and Danica Patrick going to drive for in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series?

The future will unfold as it always does with lots of surprises. Dale Jr. will prove himself as a driver once again who is able to win, whether it is at Hendrick Motorsports or somewhere else.

When it is time for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards ceremony in Las Vegas expect to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the stage with his best duds on—and who knows, perhaps he will have his cap on backwards.