As a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan and a father of two great boys, Dale Jr. snapping his seemingly endless winless streak in the same place he last won was an awesome way to wrap up my Father's Day weekend.
Yes, after a tick more than four years, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after a dominating run at Michigan. But, the implications of Dale Jr. winning again stretch far beyond me or any of his other countless fans. With Dale Jr. back in victory lane it just seems that all is right again with NASCAR.
Better When He Is Winning
Being a fan of Dale Jr., it is certainly better for me when he is doing well and especially when he is winning races. However, I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way as the ratings for NASCAR seem to go hand in hand with the way Dale Jr. runs each season.
Last season Dale Jr. ran decent and though he didn't win he did finish the year at a solid seventh place in the point standings. Last year it was also reported by Nielsen ratings that NASCAR had enjoyed a huge viewership increase after three straight years of decline. Maybe not so oddly enough, those three years were ones of struggles for Dale Earnhardt Jr. If they had such a dramatic increase in a year when he didn't even win, imagine how this year will go.
Waiting for the Next Rise or Fall
Of course as a fan of Dale Jr. I will continue to watch as he continues to put together an amazing 2012, which currently has him in second place in the championship standings, only four points out of first. But, as I've learned over the years, those who root against Dale Jr. in my inner circle of NASCAR friends will do so with almost as much gusto as I do while cheering him on.
That means that no matter what Dale Earnhardt Jr. does from this point on in 2012, there will be both fans and haters alike tuning in to see if his next act will be another rise or a great big fall. Either way, more people will be watching.
Streak Starts Again
Now that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has reached victory lane the winless streak immediately starts over. While I hope for a winless streak of only a week, others are no doubt hoping for a repeat of the last winless streak which lasted 143 races. Unfortunately, for an icon like Dale Earnhardt Jr. one win will probably not silence the critics. But, with the world now watching again to see what comes next for Dale Jr. all is right for this NASCAR fan and quite likely NASCAR as a whole.
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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