Saturday, June 11, 2011


It's Junior's time.

That's saying a heck of a lot, coming from a guy who has the reputation among Junior fans everywhere of being the world's No. 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. hater – even though I steadfastly have proclaimed time after time that I'm not guilty of such sacrilege.

Throughout my career, I haven't intentionally hated Junior. I've just been a bit more, shall we say, judicious. More critical and not afraid to speak my mind about his talent – or sometimes, lack thereof – than all those fans, media and even NASCAR officials who fawn and gush over Earnhardt as if he is the greatest driver to ever grace the sport of stock car racing.

Far from it – but try to tell a blind Junior fan that logic and facts say otherwise. Simply put, Junior fans don't care about logic and facts. Their driver is still the best of the best, and there's no way you're going to convince them otherwise, even if you are 100 percent right and they're 100 percent wrong.

Let's face it, when the Chairman and CEO of NASCAR, Brian France, comes out and boldly says that NASCAR's fortunes would improve if Dale Jr. won a race, that should show you how important Little E is to the sport. Even though there's more than enough people who would disagree with that assessment.

But not me this time. Normally I would be in lockstep with the naysayers, but this time I'm convinced it's Junior's time to break out of the biggest funk of his career. Time for him to start living up to all the fawning comments and news stories that have been said and written about him.

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