With Six Races Left, Earnhardt Jr. Cant Wait For The Nightmare To End

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IOctober 17, 2009

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on October 9, 2009 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Frustration and aggravation are two of the worst feelings that any person can ever have to endure.

We have all gone through it at one time or another, and the best remedy is to allow it to run its course, hoping that it will end sooner than later.

There are many ways that we allow frustration to enter into our daily lives, and of course, there are always those unforeseen circumstances that cannot be avoided.

And after the frustration sets in, that's when the aggravation takes over and makes matters worse.

Circumstances that, at the time started out on the right path, but as time wore on, just never materialized while falling way short of our expectations.

Dale Earnhardt Jr, is only six races away from finishing the worst season he has ever experienced, while driving in the Sprint Cup Series.

It was a season that has seen far more downs than ups, which all started during the season opening Daytona 500.

Earnhardt, who won the 500 back in 2004 while finishing out the season with six wins and fifth in the point standings, didn’t fare as well when he pitted outside his box to fall a lap down.

And then, to add insult to injury, with 76 laps left while trying to get his lap back, he and Brian Vickers got into each other taking out 10 cars in the process.

Kyle Busch, who was also included, heavily criticized the drivers for their overly aggressive driving behavior while being a lap down.

“The highs have been not very high and the lows have been terribly low. It's hard to want to get back up and try again the next week when you take such a beating. But I don't know what else to do."

Earnhardt also added, “I really don't want the year to be over with, because I like going to the race track every week and racing. But the last several...well, all year, it's been so...low.”

If this race alone was any indication of how the rest of the season would play out, you have to wonder if maybe the crew chief change that took place later on in the season could have been one of the deciding factors to a better season.

And on the flip side of that, Earnhardt cannot be held without blame when he is just as much to blame for the predicament that he is in.

After all, it was Earnhardt who had trouble with his pit stops, and he has no one to blame but himself because he is the one who ultimately drives the car with the biggest responsibility.

Earnhardt is in the middle of one his worse nightmares and must be thinking there is no end in sight.

So, how does one of the sport's most popular drivers deal with his own frustrations, especially when early on in his career his actions backed up any words that were ever spoken about him?

"I've been riding it out. There comes a point though when you don't want to ride it out anymore," he said. "You just have had enough, you know? It's been a long year,” said a very frustrated Earnhardt.

Earnhardt also took the initiative earlier in the season, when he lobbied to fans that he was to blame for the team's misfortunes. He was trying to take the blame off of his crew chief Tony Eury Jr.

But Earnhardt also knows that the final decision is going to come from upper management, but that should never stop him from voicing his opinion on whom he would feel comfortable with.

Especially when a decision with this type of magnitude needs to made without putting a friendship in the way, because the outcome will ultimately dictate how well a season can play out.

"I don't have the credentials to make the call. If I told you that I wanted to be with Lance next year, I wouldn't be telling you that out of my knowledge of expertise and talent. I'd be telling you because, well, it's fun hanging out with him."

As far as where the team is headed, and what needs to be done to make them a championship contender is anybody’s guess, including Earnhardt’s.

"I really don't know what the logical next step would be," he said, "because we seem to be getting better, but even getting better is not satisfying me at all."

Rick Hendrick has a lot of work to do in the offseason, and the decisions that the organization needs to make will be carefully thought out and Earnhardt knows that.

"There are a lot of smart people around here, I'm just waiting on somebody to make the call. Put the damn team together and say, 'this is what you've got, and this is what you're going to do next year.' I'm just kind of waiting on that to happen."

The optimism that was lost during the season seems to have found its way back even though there are still six races left.

Especially if this is Earnhardt’s way of telling Rick who he feels he needs in order to turn the team around, especially when Lance McGrew’s tenure is only interim.

“Whoever I work with needs to be a dictator. The most success I had was with Tony [Eury] Sr., and you know how he runs his ship."


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.