Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won a total of 18 times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but only one of those wins has come since he joined Hendrick Motorsports back in 2008. As a fan of Dale Jr. it has been hard to watch him over the last few seasons, but I feel there is reason to be hopeful. In fact, even though he won 17 races with his former family team, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated or DEI, there are five reasons in particular that I feel Dale Earnhardt Jr. is better off with Hendrick Motorsports than any other place in NASCAR, including his former team, now known as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Reason #1: Teammates
Not that Dale Jr. raced with nobodies at DEI, but look at his teammates now. Since his arrival at Hendrick Motorsports he has been teamed with 4-time champion Jeff Gordon and 5-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Add Kasey Kahne to that mix this season and there really is no better driver roster to be associated with.
Reason #2: Equipment
No matter how good a driver is, they will be limited to success in NASCAR according to the equipment they are provided with. Because Dale Earnhardt Jr. races for Hendrick Motorsports he is able to have the best equipment week in and week out. While that hasn't paid off as much as Junior Nation has wanted as of yet, he is at least given the chance to drive the kind of cars that are capable of running up front.
Reason #3: Rick Hendrick
Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, is a man who has shown time and time again that he believes in Dale Earnhardt Jr. He has switched crew chiefs and done many other things to ensure Dale Jr. is as comfortable as can be. His most recent switch put Steve Letarte on top of the pit box and he and Dale Jr. seem to be working great together. After a 7th place finish in the championship standings in 2011, the two are running strong once again in 2012 proving Rick Hendrick knows what he is doing and will do what it takes to see Dale Jr. win again.
Reason #4: Less Shadow
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will never be able to fully escape his father's shadow, but that shadow is cast far less with him at Hendrick Motorsports. When he was racing for his family team he not only had to deal with the fact that he was the best driver on the team, but he also had to deal with the fact that he was the family namesake driving for the team. That's pressure that likely no driver would want to handle.
Reason #5: Confidence
Dale Earnhardt Jr. always runs well when he is confident. Confidence can only come when a driver has a great car, a great crew, and great teammates. With all these bases covered at Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Jr. is likely filled with a lot of confidence, which has been showing lately as his 2012 season is off to a great start. All that is left for Dale Jr. is to end his winless streak and continue to thrive at the place that serves him best out of all the teams in NASCAR; Hendrick Motorsports.
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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