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  • Roushkateers Roushkateers May 26, 2010 10:23 AM Flag

    Junior’s Legacy

    People are widely divided on Dale Earnhardt Jr, so say he is ready to ignite and fulfill his legacy, while others say he is a bum. Neither of course is true and the truth, like for most of us, lies in the middle.

    First let’s look at what he has done in the number of races that he has run. Junior has ran 375 races in Cup series, so if you look at drivers on 25 races either side of that number, you get a peer group of Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, John Andretti, Matt Kenseth, Robby Gordon, Dave Blaney, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.

    Stewart has twice the wins and two championships and definitely a cut above. However, he is pretty much on par with the rest of the group in wins with 18. Kenseth and Busch have each won one championships, but aren’t statistically superior otherwise. Harvick is slightly behind Junior, yet nobody calls him a bum.

    If you compare him in wins he has about the same as Jeff Burton, Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte. The Labonte brothers have 3 championships between them. Burton does not and has only 3 more wins in 184 more races, yet no buddy calls him a bum.

    What is the difference here, cars, support, etc? Well it isn’t equipment as he as always been in good equipment. However, his most productive years were at DEI with his uncle as crew chief. Kurt Busch won with Jimmy Fennig, who had won a title with Bobby Allison before. Matt Kenseth won with Robbie Reiser, who had been his crew chief forever. Junior has yet to find that Johnson-Knaus, Gordon-Evernham type combination and frankly few drivers ever do in racing.

    Some have suggested that he needs to go to RCR and run the number 3 car, this will make the difference. He may go to RCR and he may drive the number 3 car, but if you think that this will cause the Phoenix to rise from the ashes, you are mistaken. He is close to being about halfway done with his career (based on 800ish starts). This means that we have seen what we can expect to see out of Junior, he isn’t a young gun anymore. I look for him to have a good career (Burton-ish) and very successful financially.

    I look for him to go into ownership in the future and that chapter is yet to be seen. Still the bottom line is he will have spent his entire life doing what he wants to do in life and living very comfortable. I think that many of the haters are just a little bit jealous, but then aren’t we all.

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    • Sorry man, but have u guys been watchin the same races I have? He dont even try anymore, he runs most races in the mid 20's pack, and seems fully content to be there. He only did well last race cuz the "big one" took out most of the field. He always has an excuse, its not possible for the equiptment to be F-ed up that much, its him, all him, no one but him, But youre right Roush, he is just an average driver, because he is content to be. The fire is dead in him, has been for a while.

    • If Jr. wants to go out on a good note with his driving career he needs to start this year. He is 35 years old right now and in most sports, this is when they usually wind down.

      I personally think the biggest thing for him is the communication. A lot of the crew chiefs now a days are more engineers minded and while Dale is more a throwback to the Southern style racing talk. He and Tony Sr. made it work for a while but not every combination can work forever.

      Also the cars nowadays are alot more technical then they used to be. It use to be that if the crew got the car in the ballpark of where it needs to be, the driver could make up for it with his own skill. Now these things are on a razor thin edge and with the level of compitition that now exists, if your off, you're running in the twenties. Some of the other drivers were able to adapt. Jr. not so much.

      • 1 Reply to Corey
      • honestly, i dont think hes out on a bad note if he retired tomorrow.

        he has what, 18 wins? look at how many drivers active or retired with around that or less. If it were me, I'd feel damn good about 18 cup trophies with my name on it (one being the 04 Daytona 500. if thats the only race i ever won id be stoked!).

        he makes more money from wrangler in a year than most of us will see in a lifetime.

        his dad is a racing legend.

        he shares the name of a racing legend.

        thats pretty good stuff.

    • i believe he will race for RCR i remember an article where DW said the Jr said he wanted to race for Richard Childress in the #3 before he retired. so only time will tell.

    • well said roush

    • Dalesillegitimateson® Dalesillegitimateson® May 26, 2010 11:08 AM Flag

      Ive been known to bash Kyle a little, but really I have never said anything other than "He's a Beady Eyed Weasel"...however..I do find it a little offensive to bash any driver for his accomplishments or lack of accomplishments...I have a great amount of respect for every single driver that runs on the NASCAR circuit...We all have our favorite drivers and our least favorite..but Jr. doesn't deserve to have his past and future judged all at once...not any more than any other driver....If we are gonna be fans..why can't we just agree that Jr is a huge piece of the Nascar Puzzle..and without him...Nascar would not be the same!!

    • Very safe comparison to date. However I still believe that Jr. is a man behind a mask right now, and if he runs the 3 he will be more serious then ever about racing. I think this has probably been in the back of his head for a while now, and that is what has slowed down his progress in racing, whether or not to run the 3. I also firmly believe that he has committed 100% to himself, his family, and the Nascar fans, to never run the 3.... unless he was ready to devote his life to racing a million times more then he ever has. Because trust me if he knows fans are just waiting for him to fail, he knows that he cannot committ, unless he knows he won't fail, or if he knows he won't succeed, more so then he has his whole career combined.
      Bottom line I think Jr. has always wanted to race the 3, he just didn't want to do it until he knew for certain 100% that it was the right time to do it, so that it wouldn't be a bad portrayal for what the 3 has stood for, not only to veteran and savvy fans such as yourself, but to the up and coming new fans and aficionados of the racing world.

    • Roush, its so funny you posted this. after reading the latest jr bashing threads last night, this sort of comparison was what went thru my mind, specifically with Burton and Harvick. you nailed the point, and likely more clearly than i could have, 5 stars


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