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Some might think that I am being too hard on Junior, but the fact is, he has probably been the most disappointing driver over the last couple of seasons. If nothing else, this season has at least been better than the debacle that was 2009.
As of right now, Earnhardt Jr, currently sits 19th in the points standings, and this will mark the third time in four seasons that he failed to crack the top 15 in points.
While some would argue that this type of season has become the norm for Junior, and that he currently only fields mediocre expectations to begin with, I would tend to disagree.
Whether it is from his team, Rick Hendrick, the media, or just the fans, the expectations for Dale Earnhardt Jr. are extremely high. Fair or not, the expectations are there. He is expected to contend for wins and is expected to be a factor in the Chase for the championship.
This season has been yet another in a long string of disappointing ones for Junior. He has only earned eight top 10 finishes, with just three of them being top 5's.
After finishing second in the season opening Daytona 500, many people thought that that would be the turning point to get Junior back on track. But since then, he has only had a best finish of fourth place. And further more, in his last 16 races, Earnhardt has managed just five top 20 finishes.
Whether people like it or not, the bar is set very high for Dale Earnhardt Jr., and just has been the case for each of the last six seasons, he has failed to live up to expectations.