Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a crowd favorite for may reasons, some of which escape me, but you can’t disrespect the man because he is nothing but tenacious. He hasn’t won much of anything for several seasons but he has been in contention, so it’s not like winning the Daytona 500 is a huge surprise. It’s more like a pleasant event, somewhat akin to watching your little brother hit a ball to the outfield after umpteen consecutive strikeouts.
Earnhardt overcame bad weather and some impacts in order to stand in the winners circle. His delight at once again capturing a Daytona 500 for the second time after a decade long drough was nice to watch. What’s up next for Earnhardt? His fans hope this was a breakthrough. His skeptics will call it a fluke. But let’s not forget that with a little bit more luck, Dale Earnhardt Jr. could have been in the top spot more than once in the last four seasons. Maybe the fluke here is not that Earnhardt won this season but that he hasn’t won two or three time by now.
Oh well, that’s why they call it a race. NASCAR officials, and the guys that count the take at the gate, have to be happy with seeing their most popular driver provide some validation for why he’s popular. Everyone loves a winner and this week, at the Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a winner.Eric Drouant