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Top Five Reasons Dale Earnhardt Jr. Isn’t Overrated
Being a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan certainly comes with its highs and lows, kind of like being a fan of his father did. There seems to be no other driver in NASCAR today that gets more scrutiny from the fans with many of them saying negative things like he only has a ride due to his name or that he can't drive a car. Basically, many fans feel, and have no problem stating, that Dale Jr. is overrated. However, just looking at five reasons in particular as to why he isn't overrated might change some minds.
Reason #1: His Sprint Cup Wins
Entering the 2012 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 18 wins in the Sprint Cup Series including a Daytona 500 victory in 2004. While that might not sound like a lot, that is good enough to rank 24th on the list of modern era NASCAR wins and he is ahead of other premium drivers in this category including Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman. So, he might be miles away from his father's 76 career wins, but for a driver, he is holding his own.
Reason #2: His Non-Point Wins
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has not only won his fair share of Sprint Cup points paying races, but he has also amassed six victories in races that didn't pay out points. These victories include three wins in the Gatorade Duels, two Bud Shootout wins and a Sprint Cup All-Star Race win.
Reason #2: His Championships
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won two Nationwide Series titles. In fact, he did so in back to back fashion in 1998 and 1999 when the series was known as the Busch Series. While not the first or the last to do this and knowing that Nationwide titles don't equal Sprint Cup titles, it was none the less a feat that not many drivers can say they have accomplished.
Reason #4: The Chase
Every fan of NASCAR knows that The Chase for the Sprint Cup, which is NASCAR's version of the playoffs, started back in 2004. However, what many don't realize is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made The Chase four times in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011. So, in the eight years that The Chase has been conducted, Dale Jr. has made the cut 50% of the time. While that isn't the best among the drivers in the garage, it isn't even close to the worst as there are many drivers who have yet to make The Chase.
Reason #5: His Career Stats
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has put together some very impressive stats since he began his full time Sprint Cup career back in 2000. In 435 career starts , with five coming in 1999, he has managed 18 wins, 95 top five finishes, 162 top ten finishes and has 10 poles. If you looked at stats like these at the end of a driver's career you might think their career was a success. Now consider that Dale Jr. has plenty of racing years left to pad these stats and the numbers become that much more impressive.
Overrated or Over Hated?
Is Dale Earnhardt Jr. the best driver to ever put on a fire suit and strap into a race car? I don't think anyone is going to make that argument, but the fact that many say he is and always will be overrated isn't something that can be justified either as his resume is not only impressive, but is really one of the best in the biz. Maybe if the discussion was about his older brother Kerry Earnhardt, who had little success in racing, the argument might hold water. But, in the case of Dale Earnhardt Jr. it looks like he might be more over hated than he is overrated.
Jimmy Collins has been a loyal fan of NASCAR since he was a child attending races watching Dale Earnhardt run the famous number 3. He still attends numerous races each season and enjoys writing about NASCAR, particularly in regards to Dale Earnhardt as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr.
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