After Friday night's Subway Jalapeno 250, Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted that anything other than a win would have been a letdown.
And thankfully for Junior, we'll never know what that letdown would have been like as he survived a green-white-checker finish to win Friday night's Nationwide race.
"I feel lucky, I feel real lucky. I was so worried that I wasn't going to win," Earnhardt Jr. told ESPN in Victory Lane. "Because nothing but a win... for everybody in the world. If you didn't win, what a waste of time, why did you do it? I worked hard to try to win it, not only for Daddy. I'm proud of him for going into the Hall of Fame and he'd be proud of this I'm sure and, you know, just all these fans. He has so many great fans -- not just mine -- this is for his fans. Hope that they enjoyed this. This is it. No more three for me. A win and this will be it. That's it."
As cliche as the saying "it was a storybook ending" is, this really was one. Of course, conspiracy theorists will claim that Joey Logano didn't pull out of line to attempt that pass on the backstretch because NASCAR wanted Junior to win, but that's a pretty weak argument. How cool would it have been for Logano to be able to say that he beat the legendary Wrangler no. 3 car on the last lap?
Now it remains to be seen how long this win will tide over Junior Nation. Will (most) all be forgiven if Junior fails to make the Chase because of this hot July night in Daytona? Or is the pressure now ratcheted up yet another notch now that Junior has found his way back to Victory Lane?