After being completely neutral about Dale Earnhadrt Jr. in the past, I have decided I should become a "Junior" fan. Why you ask? After following the soap opera that his decision to leave DEI and move to Hendrick Motorsports became, I started thinking about it.
Keeping in mind that I had no Dale Sr. baggage to lug around ( I liked him, just not a big fan), I kept seeing on board's and in blog's, comments about "he's not as good his father" and "he would do much better if he had his father's hard driving style", well, you get the picture. While I'm sure there were family issues at DEI, I also think that the only way he would ever get out his father's shadow, and fan's expecting him, or whishing him to be his father would be to leave DEI.
That's a tough decision to make, and I think the way he handeld it was classy. Even with some of his fans fighting with each other over black helecopters and tin foil hat's, he kept it clean and took the high road. That inpressed me. Yes, there are those that say he got some shot's at DEI in there, but compared to what some (and I say some. not all or even most) of his fans had to say, it was a very high road indeed.
The main reason for leaving, at least publicly, was winning. Doing what he is here to do. Not being a corperate spokesman or a role model. Yes he makes a lot of money, ok, a ton of money as a spokesman, but winnig races and championships is at the root of why he does what he does.
How you do this is is by going to a team that is winning races and championships.
No, I'm not a Hendrick fan, so we can take that out of the equation.
So, he has decided to find out if the reason he is not currently winning is due to talent, equipment or both. In front of all of us and on a huge stage. Pretty gutsy I would say, and I admire him for doing it. Will he be the number three driver at Hendrick? Could be. For awhile maybe. But they would be insane if they did not give him the best crew and equipment possible. I was at Fontana for testing and it didn't seem he was all that fast, but neither were his teammates. We will see.
So I'm a fan. not because of his father, car manufacturer , sponsor or his employer. I don't need extra energy, so Amp is out. I'm sure I won't qualify for the National Guard. I might hoist a few Mountain Dew's however. I'm a fan because he showed me a lot and I like the guy. And the fact that he is not just like his father might just be to his credit.
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