From the Marbles - NASCAR

With all of the hype surrounding Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s ride in Friday Night's Nationwide Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona, is Junior putting himself in yet another position where he can't win without actually winning?

Even subtracting the new car from the equation, the Wrangler No. 3 car's presence would make this the biggest Nationwide race of the year, and it's a safe bet that half of the fans in the stands Friday will be wearing some sort of Wrangler No. 3 gear.

But as we all know, Junior Nation is never completely content, and now that Junior has said that this looks to be the one and only time he'll drive the No. 3, the pressure is already on (as if the pressure faucet wasn't amped up to begin with).

He hasn't won at Daytona in the Nationwide Series since July of 2006 — partially thanks to Tony Stewart's February domination — and in February of this year, went for a wild ride on the backstretch. How awful would it be for the legions of Earnhardt fans to see the Wrangler car in the wall, or worse, flipping down the backstretch?

Junior is the odds-on favorite for Friday's race, but we all know how restrictor plate races can go, especially with a very new variable in the COT.

For Junior's sake, hopefully he wins. It obviously means nothing in the Sprint Cup Series, but it may help ease the burden that comes with being Dale Earnhardt Jr. and so close to the cutoff for the Chase.

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