Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Defense of Dale Jr

God bless Dale Earnhardt Jr. Whether you love to love him or love to hate him, you have to admit that this guy's under more pressure than any other driver in Sprint Cup. And, according to Darrell Waltrip, we're all supposed to believe the pressure from his fans and critics alike is finally getting to him.

I don't buy it. Sure, he clipped Vickers. Sure he missed his pit box and then was penalized for being "on the line." But two things became clear to me as the laps wound down during the Daytona 500: Dale Jr. is serious about winning this year and the biggest pressure he's under is coming from himself.

He drove the wheels off his car as night came on, managing to get himself from the back to the front. From a lap down to the lead lap. And his intensity and irritability during the rain-delay interview cemented that fact. He knows this is his year. And he's got something to prove.

And he also knows he can't please everybody. If he had just sat pretty, eased up and failed to get back on the lead lap, NASCAR fans would have questioned his commitment to winning. He tries to pay back Vickers for 'Dega - AND put himself in a position to finish well (while unintentionally causing a pileup) and bloggers call him a bonehead who doesn't know how to drive. If the contact with Vickers would have sent Vicker spinning into the infield, Junior would be a hero. Instead, according to one online pundit, Junior is now a goat.

But that's temporary. If Junior keeps that fire to win burning all season long, he'll silence those critics easily enough. And he'll prove he can handle the pressure that comes not from his fans and critics, but from himself.


  1. Michelle,
    I am amazed at the people who have bashed Dale Jr. I believe that this race showed us that he is just as human as all of the other drivers and just as human as the fans. He was not feeling good and it contributed to his miscues. But, even while under the weather he was still trying to race at 100% of his ablity. Many fans can not honestly say that they are able to work at 100% when they are ill. Also, I did see the fire burning in Dale Jr.; yes he is determined to have a better season than last year. I want to see his intensity roaring and his desire to win at every race! I do not want to cheer for a driver that is out their riding around, just to collect a paycheck. However I must say, Dale has placed too much pressure on himself; thus he has, without realizing it, put excess weight in his race car, of which is throwing off his momentum. I wish, as a person whom respects Dale for the person that he is, and as a fairly new fan of his, that he would just get in his racecar and RELAX, HAVE FUN,& ENJOY THE RACE! That is how the race fans approach a weekend at the racetrack {when we are finally able to escape from the pressure-filled, daily grind}. It rewards us with a satisfying and memorable good time. Dale Jr. please RELAX, HAVE FUN,& ENJOY THE RACE. The results will satisfy your burning desires. gail
    P.S. I envy you; you have the best seat in the house {along with 42 other guys}!

  2. that's the junior i want to see !!!! agressive intimadating , bush is a big forgetful baby