Thursday, January 8, 2009

Don't Disparage What You Don't Understand

Since about 2001, or even before, there has been an entity known as the Junior Nation, or perhaps now that Big E is gone, simply as the Earnhardt Nation. Either way, this is a group of NASCAR fans who used to wear Budweiser red, and now wear AMP or Mountain Dew green or National Guard blue. For some reason, they have become some of the most hated fans in any sport on planet earth.

Some of that hatred is probably justified. I imagine a few Budweiser cans were tossed over the fence by some Junior fans at places like Talladega in the past. Strangely enough however, the only fan we saw being taken away in handcuffs was wearing a Lowe's vest. How very odd. Odd indeed.

On many message boards, Junior Nation fans are called idiots, rednecks, and sometimes even words that could be called disparaging. Personally, I don't mind being called such names, because in some areas, being called a redneck is actually a term of endearment. I just wish I lived in a place like that.

But getting down the the meat of this post, being a Junior fan does not mean that you have to be either a prepubescent teen age girl or a 40 year old woman who wishes she was still a prepubescent teen age girl. Junior Nation fans cover virtually the entire spectrum of humankind. Junior Nation fans cannot be classified by sex, race, career choice, or even by their intelligence quotient. I've met bank presidents who were Junior fans. I met one that was a Kyle Busch fan too, for some reason.

Why do Dale Jr. fans like Junior? Some of them are female and realize he's still single, even after all these years in the limelight which has become NASCAR racing. Being Mrs. Dale Earnhardt Jr. probably ranks highly on the all time lists of things to do for many women. But that's not all there is to it all. Not at all.

Some of us simply respect the roots of NASCAR and where it all started. In some ways, Junior is a throwback to an older era, where times were much more simpler and easy. Junior would have loved to have raced in his father's day, back in the 1980's and 1990's. For any of you who detect accents, it is obvious that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was born and raised in North Carolina, which for some of us here in South Carolina, still makes him a Yankee.

Dale Jr. is a link to the past with many of us fans who have been around for more than 8 or so years. He probably won't win 200 races or 8 championships, but we love the guy. He's as honest as the day is long, and he tells the truth, always. Is he the best driver out there? Probably not. But we love him for his ability to be candid about all things racing though.

Dale Jr. will probably not be remembered as the best driver ever, but he will be remembered as one of the most popular drivers ever. If you want an honest opinion about a race track or a race car, Dale Jr. is your guy. He will tell you the truth.

Dale Jr. has a lot of respect for the traditions that were started way before he was even alive. I was alive before him, so I know. Dale Jr. has become the most popular NACSCAR driver mostly because of his personality, not just his driving abilities.

Like him or not, Dale Jr. keeps fans watching NASCAR. Thank whatever God you to pray to for that.

1 comment:

  1. I believe you hit the nail on the head! I am a lifelong racing fan and a Dale Sr fan who has followed Juniors career since he, Kelly, and Kerry were racing the short tracks of the Carolina's. As a 60+ year old male I have nothing but respect for Junior as does my 30
    year old daughter and my 5 year old Grand daughter. He is real and he is "OUR DRIVER"!!!


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