To all the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. haters out there: Wake up from your self important, uneducated and, no doubt, boring dreams, no matter how many small farm animals are involved.
Earnhardt Jr. is one of the best drivers in NASCAR and that’s that. Is he the best? No. I’ll defer to Brad Keselowski’s assessment that Carl Edwards probably takes that top honor as we go into the 2015 season.
When you can win 4 races in 2014, finish in the top ten 22 times, the top five 12 times and are ranked 8th out of over 40 drivers, you can easily say he can get the job done. Some seasons he hasn’t.
What if you had inherited the passion and desire to follow in your Fathers footsteps only to discover what a huge, and sometimes inflated, shadow you had to walk in?
It would be hard to be compared to a guy that didn’t care what anyone thought, did or wanted him to do. Dale Sr. marched to the beat of a different drummer. NASCAR doesn’t work that way today. He would, most likely, have lost more races on penalties than he could have won. Let’s not forget that he would also have had the Jimmie Johnson juggernaut to contend with.
Comparing Dale Earnhardt Jr. to his Father is complete folly. Dale Sr. would not have fared much better than anyone else in post 2001 NASCAR. The competition is far too great.
In Sr’s day the competition wasn’t nearly as great as it is today. There is more funded talent than there are seats now and that simply wasn’t the case in the 1990’s.
Dale Jr has had to live with his Fathers death, a man who was creating a small empire for his him to own, a step mother that I, with all due respect, refer to as Cruella de Vil, and the usual chemistry afflictions that ALL racing drivers/teams contend with.
Earnhardt Jr never overstates his importance, he always takes the high road and bears down when things are tough. On the other hand, he does have a problem communicating with others, mainly his team. Not everyone in racing is Ronald Reagan.
He’s not an MBA or even a college undergraduate. So what? Neither was Steve Jobs. So let’s not overstate the importance of having a college degree as a measure of your chances of success. Earnhardt keeps racing because it’s what he loves to do and no one should deny him that.
Now he has a new crew chief: Greg Ives. Everyone wonders whether the same momentum can be carried into 2015 that Little E had in 2014. The same can be said for any driver in the field right now who are operating under the new rules, but it looks promising.
According to Rick Hendrick: “Greg was our number-one choice,” he added, “This is a talented guy who already has a terrific rapport with Dale Jr. and is a fit with the organization. He and Chad had a lot of success together, and all of our crew chiefs think the world of him and what he’s accomplished. Greg’s proven that he can win races, and he has all the tools to do big things.”
If they already have a good working relationship then it only makes sense that they can put a season together that will rival 2014. Ives has worked as a crew chief for JR Motorsports and has wins with Chase Elloitt.
He obviously knows how to communicate with Earnhardt and that is the key. If Ives and Earnhardt can translate the relationship from owner/crew chief to driver/crew chief, then we should expect good things to come from the 88 camp.
It makes no sense to me that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. seems to be so polarizing. People either hate him or they love him. Maybe it’s his jewelry phobia.
No, he hasn’t won a Sprint Cup Championship.
But then, neither has Carl Edwards, yet.