Dear Santa, All I Want for Christmas Is for Junior Nation To Be Appreciated

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer IDecember 18, 2009

Dear Santa,

I’m a little bit of a dilemma, see I love NASCAR and think that its fans are some of the best in the world. But lately those fans have been criticized and mocked for being…well fans.

There’s this driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., he’s the most popular driver in the Sprint Cup Series and one of the most well liked drivers in the garage to boot.

He’s almost the complete package: young, handsome, rich, nice, etc. except that he doesn’t seem to find victory lane very often and has yet to win a championship.

Oh, if you want to throw that in too that would be just excellent!

Since you can make reindeer fly, I think you might be able to work out something for the No. 88 team that no one else seems to be able to.

Anyway, back to the point of my writing you today.

Through the years all of the Earnhardt Jr. fans have picked up a nickname and are being called “Jr. Nation.”

Everyone knows who they are.

They line his souvenir trailers at every track, cheer him fanatically at every race, and will never leave his side.

Through thick and thin they have stayed loyal. See, I told you; NASCAR fans are some of the best in world and in all of sports.

However, instead of being praised for their die-hard fandom, and for the loyalty they show their driver in merchandise, tattoos, and vocal(ness), they are constantly made out to be the bad guys.

They’re called unintelligent, crazy, said to be complainers and always making excuses for their driver. Fans of other drivers give them hard times at races, saying they need to root for a winner.

Media say they are too harsh on other drivers and think that Earnhardt Jr. does no wrong.

And even drivers say they are out of control or crazy.

In case your wondering that would be Kyle Busch, I’m sure you’ve seen him on your naughty list a time or two.

He’s worked hard this year though, and won the Nationwide Series championship and was even said to hang out in Earnhardt Jr.’s motor home during Halloween, so maybe you can go easy on him this year.

But, back to the fans I’m talking about.

Now, call me stupid, but I thought the idea of being a fan was to stick with your driver and love them no matter what.

Which is exactly what Jr. Nation does.

Sure, they may think that other drivers aren’t cool, insult them, or root against them.

Except, all fans do that, not just Jr. Nation.

And yes, they probably think that Earnhardt Jr. may do no wrong, but hey if they chose to believe that then they can, it’s their driver and who is to tell them what they can and cannot believe?

I’m sure Jimmie Johnson fans believe that he is the greatest of all time and that his crew chief has never broken the law.

Oh wait; can I say that without being put on the naughty list myself?

Now Santa, I love everything about NASCAR but I just don’t understand why Jr. Nation, the most loyal fans there are, aren't more appreciated for doing what fans do?

Please just answer me that. 

Is it because they decided to root for the most popular driver? Since he gets a lot of media coverage does that mean they will too?

If people want to throw criticism at Earnhardt Jr., then so be it, he’s fair game since he’s driving the race car in the sport that we all love.

But throw criticism at fans?

Since when is that the name of the game, who’s to tell them what it means to be a fan and how they are supposed to behave and believe?

All fans are different and all fans are entitled to do what they want, and root for whom they chose.

No one should be able to tell them they’re wrong or point and laugh at them.

It doesn’t make sense to me Santa, and I tend to think that I’m a pretty intelligent person. After all, as comedian Carlos Mencia said, “I have a 4.0 GPS.”

It’s just discouraging that instead of being appreciated for how passionate they are about NASCAR and their driver. And how they devote their time and money into something they love very much, and stick with him through the good and the very bad, year after year.

And they're treated as such. 

NASCAR and the drivers wouldn’t be anything without the fans, and during rough times the fans are the ones that keep attending races, keep watching, keep buying. NASCAR and the drivers owe their fans for the support, but that is not happening.

And if you could tell me why the media has to keep throwing fuel on the fire, I would appreciate that too.

Trust me Santa, I’ve seen some nasty words thrown toward NASCAR journalists because of things they’ve said. I guess it doesn’t matter to them, and if that’s the case, then maybe you should give them an extra gift as well for being so tough.

Or maybe they too, don’t understand that this is a fans sport.

It bears repeating, without the fans, NASCAR and the drivers would be nothing.

So, that’s all I want for Christmas Santa. I want for 2010 to be different than years past.

I want fans of all drivers, not just Dale Earnhardt Jr., to be appreciated for how much they will go through and do for their driver.

The fans are the best, they know no bounds and will continue to keep rooting and keep loving.

Let them do that as they please and not have to be insulted and mocked for it. Because Santa, I don’t believe that’s what sports are about, but again, I could be stupid.

Please Santa, let NASCAR fans have fun with the sport they love.


Well you know who I am...I hope.  


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