Friday, February 15, 2008

Over Rated?

Yeah, right. Dale Earnhardt Jr. only has his ride because he's the son of a 7 time Winston Cup Champion. (Yeah, I said Winston, because that's what it was when Dale won all of them.) Chances are that Dale Jr. would not even be racing had he not come from a racing family. He might have, but he probably wouldn't. I've got news for you: Neither would Dale Earnhardt, or for that matter Richard Petty.

Being born into a racing family is not a sin, folks. Lee Petty was racing long before King Richard ever stepped into a race car. So was Ralph Earnhardt before Dale ever climbed into one. Racing roots are not bad to have on the resume, it would seem.

Indeed, most of today's drivers have some racing in their blood. Practically every one of the drivers on the track have a brother or a father or a cousin or an uncle that was a racer. The relative in question may not have raced in Nascar, or even been that successful on the short track near home, but he was a racer. Sometimes it wasn't always a 'he', either. Mom might have got some of these boys into racing.

Like I said, having racing genes is not a sin. It just makes it easier to decide on a career as a young person. When Dale Jr. began racing in his early teens, his daddy was surprised. He said he never knew Dale Jr. was interested in racing. Dale Jr. would later say that it was all he ever wanted to do.

Well, guess what? Dale Jr.'s doing it! He's doing it in grand style too. First the Budweiser Shootout, now the Gatorade Duel 1 race. 2 for 2. Dale Jr. promised to come out of the corner swinging, and he has delivered in a huge way. Not only has he won both races he's been in, but he's proven that he is definitely a chip off the old block, and might be the best restrictor plate driver in the business. Possibly the best ever. Time will tell on that though.

Dale Jr. has not won just at Daytona and Talladega though. He's won at bullrings like Bristol, Richmond, and Dover. He's won at tracks like Chicago and Phoenix and Atlanta. He's not won a road course race, at least not in his cup career, but early fans of Dale Jr. will remember his Busch series win at Watkins Glen. Oh, and by the way, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a 2 time Busch Series Champion. I put that in caps because I think a lot of the detractors like to conveniently overlook that fact.

Over rated? No. Dale Jr. just has the equipment and the people and an owner that will allow him to live up to his own potential.

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