As a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan I am quite attuned to hearing the ramblings that he is nothing but a driver who has a ride only because of his last name. While I do agree that he is not the driver his father was, I also argue the claim that he would be out of a ride if his last name was not Earnhardt. However, rather than let my emotions rule the day, I will instead turn to Dale Jr.'s statistics as statistics don't lie and prove he is a top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver.
Top Ten Finisher and Then Some
With 43 drivers in the field each week for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race there are three statistics that most view to gauge how good a driver is. These statistics are wins, top five finishes and top ten finishes. With that, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his career has 18 wins, 99 top five finishes and 171 top ten finishes.
If I showed these statistics to anyone who was into NASCAR and said they were the career statistics of a driver, I think most would agree the numbers are impressive. However, add the name Earnhardt Jr. to the mix and suddenly they lose their creditability.
Looking at the Statistics in Depth
When adding up all the starts that Dale Jr. has made in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, including 12 for the 2012 season, the end number is 447. So that means for every 24.8 races, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has ended up in victory lane. Even though he hasn't won in quite some time, this is still an impressive stat.
Furthermore, he finishes in the top ten every 2.6 races and in the top five every 4.5 races. These are statistics that I think a lot of the drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series would love to have.
Career Not Over
Perhaps the most compelling argument that I can make in regards to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his statistics is the fact that he still has time left in his career to add to them. While this can be a negative thing, as is the case with each passing week that he sees no victory, it will also likely pad his stats in other areas. So, as impressive as his numbers are now, they have the chance to shine even more before his career is finally over.
Not the Best but Far From the Worst
By no means am I suggesting that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the best driver to ever race in a NASCAR Spirit Cup Series race, but I am suggesting that he is one of the good ones. To hear that he is one of the worst drivers ever in NASCAR is just not right, but don't take my word for it, his statistics tell the story and they certainly don't lie.
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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