As a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr. it sometimes feels as though I'll never hear the end of it from his critics. In fact if you do an online search using the term "Dale Jr. bad driver" you get 15,600,000 results back. So, it's more than just many of my inner circle racing friends that honestly think Dale Jr. can't drive.
A lot of their argument had been that he hadn't won in so long. Now that he has recently visited victory lane in Michigan and snapped his 143 race winless streak in the process, I've heard the argument that he is still no good because he hasn't won a Sprint Cup Championship yet. But even if he does, I wonder if that will be enough to silence the critics.
In His Father's Shadow
A true blessing and curse that Dale Earnhardt Jr. must live with every day of his life is that he is the son of a racing legend. Dale Earnhardt won 76 times in his career and for his efforts he earned a record tying seven Sprint Cup Championships. Because that is one enormous shadow that has been cast, Dale Jr. winning one championship would likely be held in direct comparison to his father's seven. Fair or not, the critics would likely use that as more fuel for their Dale Jr. can't drive fire.
Drives for a Top Tier Team
Another blessing and curse that Dale Jr. lives with is the fact that he drives for arguably the most successful team in NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick Motorsports boasts a record ten Sprint Cup Championships, including five by current driver Jimmie Johnson and four by current driver Jeff Gordon. So, while a Sprint Cup Championship won by Dale Earnhardt Jr. would mean a lot to fans like me, the critics would likely say that he should be winning more on such a high caliber team.
Love Hate Will Remain
I think that there is little Dale Jr. can do to silence his many critics. He seems to be one of those drivers that people either love or they hate. While it does get annoying listening to those who have nothing but negative things to say about Dale Jr. that's always been the way that the world of NASCAR works. Even his father had plenty of critics so the love hate will certainly remain for Dale Jr. and even a Sprint Cup Championship won't change all that much for him as far as the critics are concerned. Critics or not, I will still continue to root for him to achieve such success.
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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