Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Junior: No TV Pressure But Win Now Please


Kevin Harvick knew it the moment he crossed the finish line in Martinsville as the winner of the race. He mentioned it in almost all the post-race interviews.

This time, his heroics came at a price for the sport. Certainly the headlines would document his victory, but what he and everyone else knew was that NASCAR had finally come very close to getting itself back on the right track.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. never raised his head when he spoke with Steve Byrnes on FOX after the race. Junior had come within just a couple of laps of lifting a burden that has been weighing heavily on him for a long time now.

He had also come within a couple of laps of turning back on the TV pilot light that has been out for several seasons. Even FOX director Artie Kempner finally relented from his bumper-cam festival long enough to zoom-out and show the fans screaming and waving in the stands as Junior took the lead of the race.

Make no mistake about it, as Junior goes so does the sport. Nothing has proven that more than the commanding performances of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus over the past couple of seasons. Normally, this kind of intelligent dominance and resiliency would be celebrated. Instead, Johnson continues to struggle with his public perception.

Television has been stalking Junior since the new NASCAR TV contract began back in 2007. The three Sprint Cup Series TV networks would like nothing more than for Junior to be competitive at each race and in contention for the Chase championship down the stretch.

Carrying a hybrid fan base of older fans who supported his father and younger fans who know him more as a brand than a driver, Junior is as iconic in America today as Reba, Beyonce or Gaga. Among the right group, it only takes one word.

Darrell Waltrip makes no secret of the fact that Junior is high on his list of favorites. His open rooting for Junior in a Daytona 500 ultimately won by Jamie McMurrary is still a classic cringe-worthy sports TV moment.

It might not be clapping in the pressbox, but Waltrip has said he is also a fan and finally seeing Junior in contention just kicked his emotions into high gear. It was the same way in Martinsville. Suddenly, it appeared that the clouds would part and the sport could spend the week beating the media drum about an Earnhardt.

Tuesday, a good percentage of the mainstream NASCAR media spent the day writing their versions of Jimmie Johnson's apology story. After spouting off about his speeding issues, NASCAR had presented him with the information confirming his violation. A conference call for the press corps served as the platform for his mea culpa.

Had Junior won in Martinsville, the press would have been putting together stories with a very different theme. Junior was finally back in the winner's circle. What would this mean in Texas? What would it mean for the season? Finally, what would it mean for the sport?

Television needs Junior loud and happy in Victory Lane proudly saying he has the crew and the car to go the distance and win the championship this season. On Tuesday's NASCAR Now, ESPN's Brad Daugherty said Junior would win one of the next three races.

Instead of the driver, it has been crew chief Steve Letarte making the television rounds early this week. While he is well-spoken and polite, it certainly would have given the entire sport a kick in the pants if Earnhardt had appeared on NASCAR Now and RaceHub.

Hendrick Motorsports is a marketing machine. The squeaky-clean drivers speak in polite TV soundbites surrounded by public relations managers who make sure nothing ever crosses the line. That is what we heard from Earnhardt with Byrnes, in the media center and on the highlight shows.

Needless to say, what many fans wanted was Earnhardt to stand his ground against the closing Harvick, fight him off in the spirit of his father and ultimately win the race with a battered car on sheer determination. That did not happen.

Instead, polite comments were the order of the day and apologies on pit road were shown by FOX as Junior made sure not to offend anyone. Those pictures made it very clear that this Earnhardt was different. Instead of fingers pointed in anger, there were back slaps and handshakes.

The Texas race this Saturday night is in primetime. The NCAA basketball tournament is over and Major League Baseball is still very early in its season. SPEED has a Barrett-Jackson auction and the broadcast networks have scripted cop shows. The stage is set for viewers to tune-in for a very different reason.

For the first time in a long time, the feeling is in the air that Earnhardt has a very realistic chance of winning a race and doing it on a big TV stage. With FOX continuing to crank-out the same style of telecast and the COT's continuing to provide the same kind of racing, something has to give.

So, no pressure on Mr. Earnhardt this weekend. Just a race to win, a championship to chase and a sport to save. I have a feeling this is going to be a TV weekend to remember.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I sure hope you are right. Could any of us survive under the pressure he has been under for years? I want him to win so he can feel better about himself.

Buschseries61 said...

I've felt really bad for Earnhardt Jr. over the past three years. Since he is the center of the sport, his every movement is analyzed. I can't imagine the frustration & disappointment the man feels. Sure, he knew what he was walking into when he decided to drive in Cup. But his deflated interview at Martinsville was sad to watch. I hope he does find success.

As for the PR managers, they do a great job sucking the life out of the sport. They may make sponsors happy, but I'm tired of robots on a dog leesh. Bayne & Gordon's victories were great, but the rest of the season has been very vanilla.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that Jr. Nation will be disappointed this week. He will probably finish 18th one lap down.

Anonymous said...

I'm a diehard Jr. fan and would have liked to see him win Sunday. I was at the race and it was very apparent that Harvick was faster than Dale. If Dale had tried to fend him off it is very likely that the articles would be saying that he threw a good finish away by wrecking. His tires were gone. Also, if Harvick had held back it would have been obvious and a true Jr fan does not want to see the win handed to him.

Todd Crane said...

Are we not putting too much pressure on an average driver?

Anonymous said...

NASCAR was sure as heck doing everything they could to help ANYONE but the 48 win. Just listening to the Knaus/Johnson radio chatter when they were penalized for "speeding" made it clear that the 48 team knew they were going to get the "anti-call"
No magic restrictor plate for them next time, but maybe one for the 88

Bobbie83 said...

As a fan what gets tiring is the media's continuing beating up on a guy. Yea he's had three crew chiefs in three years but other drivers also change crew chiefs. One even had three in one season. What about that?

Other drivers have issues on pit road but if Junior so much as parks his car tire an inch ON the line the media jumps on the Jr has issues on pit road bandwagon for months on end. Check the facts-he had fewer pit road issues last season than any other regular Cup driver. He also had no DNF's-a feat only one other driver accomplished.

Fact is Junior has fans..a lot of them. Perhaps if the media would get off their lazy butts and find a new story one driver wouldnt get so much media attention. But then it's easier to toss Jr's name in a headline and know you're going to get hits.

Maybe the powers that be can find a way for mainstream America to afford a race without high priced ticket pkgs and outrageous hotel costs instead of placing all the pressure on one driver. How long did it take them to make changes to this boxy COT? How bout getting quality broadcasters in the booth who actually cover the race and not five drivers. TV coverage boasts good racing action but fails to show us more than a few drivers.

It's far easier to point to one driver with a lot of fans than work on three other issues that are causing fans to tune out.

Anonymous said...

I think with the top 10 or 12 guys most likely to win, to say it's any more likely to be Junior than one of them is pretty unrealistic, much as I would like to see it. He did finish top ten at Vegas so perhaps they'll have a good car here as well. He & Steve seem to have some kind of good thing going. Personally--I don't mind seeing a guy be polite as opposed to acting like a 'jackwagon', although somewheres in the middle would be better. Junior has been more than brutally honest in the past, but I can't see how that has helped him any. But more importantly--it will be interesting to see how the broadcast does ratings wise without much competition. BTW, the 'scripted cop shows' are all reruns, which makes a difference, plus a rerun of 'War of the Worlds' on ABC. If NASCAR can't do well against that, well--it's pretty sad.

FED UP said...

When an industry relys on just ONE player to make or break it, it tells me that the industry is beyond being in serious trouble.

To put that type of pressure on one person is not fair nor equitable to the other 42 teams that are there.

To be fair, JR has handled his adversity with a quiet demeanor unlike others. Will he win? Probably so. But for Nascar and the writers to continually write that he is the "savior" of Nascar, would they like that pressure?

No Nascar, it isn't all about JR. Its about a product that you and your t.v. partners produce that is less than stellar.

Anon/J said...

Let's just face honest facts - Jr. ain't his dad. Closest analogue we have in Nascar for that driving style is Kyle Busch.

E. Sr. drove like a shark going through a school of fish. Jr. practically does the opposite.

My theory is that he got burned out too fast. Rather see him working in a race shop and killing a case of beer per night...he'd likely be a lot happier.

But...it's just too late for him to do that. On top of that, he's been put over a barrel by his stepmom, Nascar, fans, his own team...about the only way he can recover as an individual is to quit.

I think it's absolutely ludicrous that the guy gets as much coverage as he does.

It speaks to the shortsighted nature that many fans have, legitimizes the bad coverage we often get as a whole, and probably puts this poor guy on a red hot skillet mentally.

Another case of business being more important than the actual racing.

GinaV24 said...

Jr seems like a nice enough guy, but I'm quite honestly tired of NASCAR and TV trying to turn him into the savior of the sport.

I don't root for Jr. I have my own favorite driver and I want HIM to win. IMO for Harvick and the rest of them to be acting like they did something "wrong" by winning the race is aggravating.

I don't like DW cheering for Jr or anyone else when he's in the booth.

What would really be good for the sport is real competition and decent TV coverage every week. That would go a lot further to make me tune in than Jr winning a race.

Anonymous said...

I'm ambivalent when it comes to Junior. He's not one of my favorite drivers, but I don't dislike him. Personal opinion,but I don't think that anybody puts pressure on Junior. He knows he can do what he wants and if the car owner doesn't like it, he can take his $25 million a year sponsors to another team. I think Junior is good on the Super Speedways, but I don't think he's in the top five in Sprint Cup today. Rusty made just that comment and got killed by Junior Nation. Lol. When he had a good run a number of years ago, Eury Sr was his crew chief,but more importantly, DEI had plate motors clearly superior to anything on the track at the time. Junior and Waltrip could literally toy with their competitors at Daytona and Dega...until Hendrick Motorsports dedicated some serious motor development resources to its plate program. One of the other blog sites did an excellent job a few years ago describing by name the engine builders involed in the DEI plate program. They're still around today, but it's probably best that I not name them. There's one ex-driver on TV every week that got busted for an illegal plate motor from that time period. But just think about it...even Mikey Waltrip was able to win a few races with those plate motors! He's the guy that Clint Bowyer said on his radio that was played on TV that Mikey was the worst driver on the track. On NN, Ricky Craven said that the only thing the 88 team needed to break through was for Junior to have more self confidence. I disagree, self confidence isn't going to make the car handle better, improve the quality of the feedback he gives the team or keep him from losing his composure in the car. I suspect Junior will win a few more races before he retires, but I don't think Steve Letart is going to make a big difference. For what it's worth....

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the "Junior must win for the good of the sport" talk is overrated. Would NASCAR really be that much better off if he won last Sunday? Sure, his fans might have been happier that day... but would it really have changed ticket sales or TV ratings? One win? I don't think so.

The simple fact is that Dale Jr isn't just on a 100-race losing streak, but a 166-race losing streak, as his last "victory" was a fuel mileage, end-under-caution race in which he was allowed to consistently break the rules and pass the pace car under yellow. It was hardly a "victory", although it was a win.

Honestly, I don't think the sport would improve in many respects should Junior win a bunch of races. His fans already come to the races. I don't see him bringing in NEW fans any more than winning drivers who weren't around when Junior was a winner, like Kyle Busch. In fact, I think seeing ANY new face in victory lane helps the sport. Last few years it's been Busch, Johnson and Hamlin winning a vast majority of the races.

Anonymous said...

Junior is as iconic in America today as Reba

Reba? It's 2011, not 1991.

Rain88 said...

Is NASCAR becoming a sport where racing is is getting so commerical that it no longer a race between drivers but racing teams? A Childress driver like Kevin have won the last two races by lurking in the back only with a plan to increase their speeds to distract other drivers and like a sly fox go for the prey. And each time with a HMS driver...first Jimmy and now Junior.
If and when Jr. wins his next race, just watch how fast attendence, ticket sales increase and the seats become full. And THAT will happen!

Wisconsin Steve said...

NASCAR has too many eggs in one basket with Earnhardt Jr. Even if his career completely rebounds to a race-winning, championship-contending level, what happens in ten or so years when he retires or fades from contention (as most older drivers do)?

Spencer said...

Rain 88, look who was dominant the whole race till the last 10% or so of the race too.
I'm going to wait and see what Jr will be doing in the second half of the season because last year he was just barely outside the chase with a second place finish after Daytona and look where he ended up.

Anonymous said...

You guy's just don't get it do you. I have read average driver, also read the sport doesn't rely on jr. 1st average drivers don't get top 5's and top 10's! They don't win 18 races and finish top 5 in points more then once. 2nd did you guy's notice the fans went crazy when Jr was leading? HHMMMMM? Have you noticed attendance is up at each track? It just so happens jr has been consistant this season. You guys that dislike jr are in for a very long season. When Letarte and jr return to these tracks for a 2nd time this season they are going to be strong. Both Letarte and Jr have something to prove. Neither of them have lived up to what they can do.

The Mad Man said...

NASCAR and their controlled media know that if they want to boost their ratings or web hits all they have to do is write something about Junior and sure enough, like moths to a flame, people flock to those articles or watch the shows in hopes of getting the latest tidbit about Junior. Just look at the comments here on The Daly Planet. Maybe the NASCAR honchos need to be put under the same scrutiny that Junior's under and let's see just how well they handle it. Oh, that's right, their controlled media would never think about doing that because their "bosses" in Daytona won't let them do that. Heavens forbid we should see one of the big bosses doing something we fans might not approve of, like engaging in morally questionable acts or engaging in hunting the elusive Daytona Beach palm tree while spilling sodas.

NASCAR turned Junior into their "Messiah" in hopes of filling their bank accounts without taking into account that there are 42 other drivers on the track and each of those drivers have fans. They also forgot that by writing the race script for the networks that fans of those other drivers might get sick of the "usual suspects" being shown week after week.

Unless something drastic happens, like reporters and the networks standing up to the big bosses in Daytona, Junior will continue to be under the microscope.

The best thing Junior could do is take a couple of years off for a sabbatical, properly mourn his dad, get his life back on track, and return when he's good and ready.

Anonymous said...

I too don't understand why all the media thinks if Juneyer wins a race the whole Nascar world is just going to turn into a magically happy place. He's certainly an average driver. I don't dislike the guy but the coverage he gets is insane. I also don't understand why Harvick would apologize (I didn't watch the post race so I didn't see/hear any of what was said) or feel bad about winning a race. Isn't that his job?

Anonymous said...

All I know is that the seemingly limitless resources at HMS resulted in one driver winning five Championships in a row and I don't know how many races in contrast to another driver at HMS that in 166 races backed into only one 'gas mileage' win. Yes, the fans were cheering Sunday. I think just about all of us were pulling for Junior, but reality is reality. I wish him well this season.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Let me say I have 43 'favorite drivers' each week ...back in the day, I was applauding while booing both the #88/11/17 and #2/3 ...I was there for the racing ...IMHO, it would be great to see 36 different winners ...yeah, it's great to pick one and live-or-die with them each week, but I'm in it for the racing ...JR has the opportunity and oburden of having a "Jr" attached to his name - I don't envy the offspring of any celebrity ...and, too, Kyle had to carry the "Petty' name ...in time, JR will establish a legacy ...for now, he is subject to the failings of any other driver ...if 100% desire and focus isn't there, a slip will allow you to fall prey to someone else's error ...go 88 and whoever else is in the field
Walter

Justin said...

I wholeheartedly agree with FED UP and Gina. If NASCAR as a sport is so dependent upon Earnhardt Jr. for success, then I would rather fans flock away and for the sport to fall into complete obscurity.

Such reliance upon Earnhardt Jr. to revive enthusiasm into the sport is both unfair to him as a participant in a challenging series and highly disconcerting for NASCAR as a legitimate sport.

All sports have their all-stars that draw the attention of viewers outside of the sport. The glaring difference in this instance is that all-stars like Tiger Woods or Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan of years past are/were the very best talents in that sport. They draw attention from fans and the media because of their skill and domination. Despite Earnhardt Jr.'s devoted and massive fan following, he is not such an all-star (he has not even earned a place in this year's All-Star race). It is not Jr.'s talent which has earned him the spotlight; it is the unfair burden of his father's legacy.

It honestly sickens me to see driver's feeling guilty for not allowing Earnhardt Jr. to win and it infuriates me to see the palpable excitement within the FOX booth as Earnhardt Jr. takes the lead. If Earnhardt Jr. is to be the "savior" of the sport then it must be demonstrated through results. When he starts performing like a Jimmy Johnson or a Kyle Busch, then I will accept that the fate of NASCAR is inextricably tied to the fate of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Until that day comes, if it ever comes, let us concentrate on how to improve NASCAR as a sport without clinging to the hope for success of an individual driver.

Justin said...

@Anon 11:57:

Your comment "Both Letarte and Jr have something to prove" contradicts what you say at the beginning in defense of Jr's success as a driver. If he were actually better than an average driver, he would have nothing to prove.

You also seem to affirm this sentiment when you say "Neither of them have lived up to what they can do." Perhaps you are correct in that they are better than what their past results have shown. Until they prove that true,the aforementioned skepticism of Jr in this blog seems fair.

Anonymous said...

No Way do we want Jr getting Handed a Win! Jr I'm sure dosn't either...I was very glad to see him disapointed with 2nd

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I think a lot of you are underestimating the number of Junior nation. I like Junior, though I personally root for someone else. However, I go to races and I see the gear; they are die-hards and there are a lot of them--how else would they be able to make most all the poll results come out Junior no matter what the question? If Junior does start winning, I think ratings would go way up, I really do. But I don't think at race attendance is effected that much. That's been more about the economy, I think, I know it has for me.

But you have to be realistic, even if you dislike Junior--his success would be good for NASCAR and that means for all of us--more coverage, more focus on coverage and maybe, just *maybe* it will get better.

Anonymous said...

Jr is my second most favorite driver. However, I would not have wanted my 3rd most favorite driver (Harvick)not to win just so Jr could. We real Jr fans do not want contrived wins. We want him to do well. The pressure he must feel somehow has to affect him negatively. Constantly under scrutiny and forever being pushed down the throat of anyone who will listen is not a solution. Him winning a race will not be the answer either. His fans see him as a real person who does not want to take advantage of his name or constantly live in the shadow of his Dad. Why can't we all just let him be the average racer he is and be his own person? Why?

Thank you.
Corina

Vince said...

Those who say Jr. is an average driver either don't know their NASCAR or just don't have a clue. Or just have a grudge against Jr. because he is more popular than their favorite driver.

Here's the facts. Jr. has won two consecutive Busch series titles. He has 23 Busch series wins, 75 Busch series top 10's and 10 Busch series poles. Now for Cup. He has won 18 races. He 92 Cup top fives and 153 top 10's. With 10 Cup poles.

He has won on road courses, short tracks, intermediate tracks and superspeedways in Busch. In Cup he has won on short tracks, intermediate tracks and superspeedways.

Now you tell me how that is an "average driver". No he's not his Dad, he never claimed he was. The guy has been under a microscope not of his making since his career started. He is one of the few genuine personalities that we have among the vanilla drivers of today. You know when he's down, like he was after this weekends race and you know when he's up.

He can't help it that he's the most popular driver and of course some times he gets a lot of attention from certain media mouths, think DW. But he doesn't bring attention to himself like other drivers do. He's an honest humble human being, which is more than I can say for some drivers. What you see is what you get with Jr.

I am not a huge fan of his, but would like to see him do well. It would be good for him and good for the sport. Personally I'd like to see him reel off 2 o 3 wins in a row and shut all the nay sayers up. But in this day and age of the COT that is pretty difficult to do. A measure of how good Jr. is, is to ask his peers. I have yet to hear one say he is an average driver.

Lisa Hogan said...

Ahhh, another visit to the 2010 Daytona 500. DW yells for someone during every race and it really isn't a big deal to me.

Anyone with access to a keyboard can pick Jr. apart and explain his every thought, word, and deed. They should use the serious and scientific method of watching his eyebrow movement and eye blinks. I do; therefore, I know the exact meaning of all the events of the day!

JD, as such a fan of Twitter, I am surprised that you didn't know the story behind the Byrnes/Jr. interview. :)

The Jr. interview on Victory Lane seemed fine to me.

KoHoSo said...

Bobbie83 said...

Maybe the powers that be can find a way for mainstream America to afford a race without high priced ticket pkgs and outrageous hotel costs instead of placing all the pressure on one driver. How long did it take them to make changes to this boxy COT? How bout getting quality broadcasters in the booth who actually cover the race and not five drivers. TV coverage boasts good racing action but fails to show us more than a few drivers.

It's far easier to point to one driver with a lot of fans than work on three other issues that are causing fans to tune out.


Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Jonathan said...

I got chills reading the last part of this! This will be a BIG weekend!!! I wanted him to win so bad last weekend my hands were shaking afterwords! Theres no better stage than this weekend!!! This sport will be fine no matter what happens but it sure would be something!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't care what Junior's statistics are in the Busch Series. In the Sprint Cup Series, he's average compared to his peers.

Anonymous said...

The quality and objectivity of the posts on this topic reinforces why I enjoy TDP so much. Planeteers can be counted on to give any topic a fair shake.

Tom said...

Dear Vince,
In Junior's last six seasons - four at HMS and two at DEI - he has a grand total of THREE victories in 222 starts.

Like it or not, we live in a "what have you done for me lately" kind of world.

The answer to that question when it comes to Junior: Not much.

Anonymous said...

Those who say Jr. is an average driver either don't know their NASCAR or just don't have a clue...
Here's the facts. Jr. has won two consecutive Busch series titles.


So has Martin Truex Jr, and he's an average driver, too.

Vince said...

Tom@7:57

Ok, so using your logic DW would be an average driver because he didn't win towards the end of his career.

Since 2008 Jeff Gordon has only had 2 wins. Does that make him an average driver?

Anonymous said...

I think having jr. in the win column once in a while would certainly help the sport but there are many other things that would really help and they are very easy to fix. J.D. you seem to like to quote Darrell Walltrip from time to time but I have noticed in the comments from your readers that most don't give a rats behind what he has to say. He's been flapping his jaws since back in the 80s and I can't say I ever heard him say anything that made sense. That's why we watch the cup races with the sound off or on radio. I would like to see jr. race like his daddy did. Senior would have put Harvik into the wall and laughed like hang about it.

Chadderbox said...

Great article JD! Hoping Saturday night will be a great race!
"Artie Kempner finally relented from his bumper-cam festival". I enjoyed that comment.

Sally said...

I often wonder how many drivers could have managed so much pressure with the grace that Junior has. The commentary and criticism have been unrelenting since he so publicly lost his father at Daytona. He hasn't asked for the scrutiny, but can't avoid it. While I'm sure many fans would love to see him win soon, to say that he is the savior of Nascar is ridiculous. Obviously his fans haven't given up, so don't blame them/him for the lack of interest lately. As someone already said, no one talks about Matt Kenseth's parade of crew chiefs, or other drivers with fewer wins (Ryan Newman). Good grief...get over it, people!

MikeEvs said...

As a UK fan of Nascar that's only been watching for a few years, I really don't understand why Junior is as popular as he is with Americans.

In the time I've been watching he's done nothing, well he won one Nationwide race in the wrangler car and I'm convinced if it had been a more experienced driver than Joey Lagano behind him he wouldn't have won that one either.

I understand the love the fans had for his father but can't understand why there continues to be this hysteria around Jr when he's done nothing of note in years.

The sport should not have to revolve around Jr. I think MotoGP suffers the same problem with Valentino Rossi. No one man should be bigger than the sport as a whole.

glenc1 said...

Lisa, I'm a Jamie Mac fan and even I was not that bothered by DW's cheerleading, lol. I think he was caught up in the excitement, even though I'm not a big fan of his anymore. Maybe it was inappropriate, but I'd have gotten over it long ago.

I don't really think we're here to argue about how good a driver Junior is. More to say how much him winning might effect ratings/popularity. I think it would. The series is simply more competitive than it was back in the day--even Jimmie & Kyle can't win every race...

But in any case, i think you would see ratings go up if he gets on a tear. And while we like to blame poor coverage on the ratings decline (and rightfully so), there are other things that have impacted it, and Junior's lack of success is one. Also Jeff Gordon & Tony Stewart. Those guys really were the trifecta of popularity at one point. In any case, I just don't think we can make Junior win Texas by wishful thinking.

Tom said...

Vince,
Junior has 18 Cup wins in 11seasons (averages out to a little over 1.5 a year), and as I stated, only three in the last 222 starts.
He's got a TON of racing left in him, and he's going nowhere fast. Between 1975 and 1992 - a stretch of 18 seasons - DW had at least one win EVERY year (except for 1990).
Junior is going on THREE full seasons without one.
At last look, DW is in the top five on the career wins list. Junior is NEVER going to be there.
You are clearly comparing apples to oranges.

Zieke said...

Re: anon 10:06
Totally agree on DW & his jaw flapping. It is just too much for anyone to put up with.
As for Jr. driving like his daddy, that won't happen, because most of the other drivers are not "intimidated" by anyone anymore. In fact even Sr. knew who not to put his act on with. (Elliott for one). Can you imagine the reaction from Carl or Kyle if Jr. shoves them into the wall on a last lap? The racing is different now, good or bad.

Anonymous said...

To the poster that said Jr has alot of fans, my answer is he sure does. But here's the difference. Jr's fans are just that. Dale Jr fans. They are not RACE fans. When Jr retires or moves on to something else, so will they and then where will nascar be? That's why people are saying that Nascar is in big trouble if they put all their eggs in the Jr basket.

I happen to agree with this. Jr is good for the sport and him winning helps, but Nascar should be more focused on making the broadcasts better and the product on the track better. Both of those issues are more important in the grand scheme of things because both aren't that great right now.

Chuck E. said...

This sport is more about equipment than driver now.... you cant convince me that Jimmie Johnson has won 5 championships in a row because he is the best driver in the field.... He simply has the best engineers and crew chief in NASCAR...
You also cant convince me that Dale Jr. doesnt have the talent to win a Cup championship if given the same things Jimmie has....
Jr. didnt luck into 18 wins or whatever it may be in Cup... he earned them....
The COT has threw Junior for a loop but to his defense look how great Lance McGrew is doing now with Mark Martin...not so hot... so thats a real good indicator that lance is an idiot.... Junior was running great his first year in Hendrick equipment until Rick Hendrick gave Darian Grubb to Tony Stewart a few weeks before they got into the Chase. Darian was JR's head engineer and obviously had something Jr. liked in the front end geometry.... no engineer since has replicated that feeling for JR. .... maybe Latarte has someone there who has almost got it back...