Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Junior Nation - the Real Winner at Daytona

Dale Earnhardt Jr. came in second at the Daytona 500. But you'd never know it

His breath-holding, hard-charging finish was more than a shot in the arm for Junior Nation. It led to a fever-pitched revival that made his fans yell for joy, hug each other in the stands and grin from ear-to-ear long after the race was over.

As Junior crossed the finish line, fans in the superstretch grandstand were hollering and waving their hats in excitement. Then, as the No. 88 came 'round the track after the finish, folks rushed to the fence to applaud their approbation. The true Nation diehards even stayed in their seats 'til Junior's post-race interview played on the Jumbotron.

Can you imagine what would've happened if Junior had actually won? The place might have imploded.

And on the long trek back to the car, the comments you overheard weren't about race winner Jamie McMurray. It was all Junior.

"I told ya he could drive!"

"Did you see that car comin' to the front? All he needed was one more lap."

"Man alive, it was good to see the 88 running good."

You get the picture.

It looks like, at least for this race, Dale Jr. has put last year's misery behind him. And, more importantly, he's given the Nation a big fat reason to hope.

Which is why there were actually two winners at Daytona on Sunday.

McMurray was just one of them.


  1. June bug is truely a god!

  2. I love that you wrote this article. Only you and Carivello (NOL) wrote about the "story" in the stands. That is a whole human interest aspect some of us love to hear about since we can't be there. It helps us "draft" with the excitement!

  3. Sad, isn't it, that an overrated underachiever gets more press than the guy who won the race.

  4. Jr said " hell! I was 21st or 22nd when the first green, white, checker flew" gotta love him...wore my 88 hat with pride on Monday at work....go Jr nation

  5. And here I thought McMurray Nation was the real winner. Thanks for clearing that up.

  6. Daytona 500 2nd Place; #88-Dale Jr. = 1st LOSER! As Dale Sr. called finishing in second.

  7. Great piece from the stands. Way to go Junebug. Loved the "man on the street" comments at the end.

  8. wth is with jr pit crew they suk