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Earnhardt says he never doubted he’d win again

By JIM PEDLEY

The Kansas City Star


Mon, Jun. 16, 2008

Despite the pressure of a 76-race winless streak, despite increasing criticism and questions from reporters and fans surrounding that streak, Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he never really felt that the squeeze was on.

Earnhardt, who shook free of the pressures and questions by winning Sunday’s NASCAR LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, said he never really doubted that he would again be considered a Sprint Cup winner.

“I never wondered, ‘Man, will I never win again?’ ” Earnhardt said after getting his first victory in more than two years. “The winless streak didn’t frustrate me as much as most people would think, and I was so happy to be where I am and so satisfied with how we’ve run to this point, that I wasn’t really that frustrated about not winning.”

Earnhardt is by far NASCAR’s most popular driver and has been almost from the moment he drove his first Sprint Cup race in 1999.

In his first eight full seasons, he showed that he was more than just popular, more than just the son of a racing legend as he won 17 races and had 121 top-10 finishes in 286 starts.

Last year, he announced that he had been unsuccessful in trying to negotiate a deal with Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team his late father had founded, and was moving to the Sprint Cup series’ most successful team — Hendrick Motorsports.

Probably unrealistically, many thought that he would win early and often this year in cars owned by Rick Hendrick. When that didn’t happen, out came the questions.

Hendrick, the man who hired Earnhardt, said he never doubted that his prize free agent would eventually get back to victory lane.

Hendrick said that while the wins had not been there, the winning effort was. Earnhardt had six top-five finishes in 14 races and had been in the top 10 in points since the third race of the season.

“Actually,” Hendrick said, “he’s carried the banner for us.”

But none of that meant that driver and owner did not want to win races.

Hendrick wanted it for Earnhardt, whom he regards as part of his family.

“I saw the disappointment in your face in Richmond and saw the joy in your face here today,” Hendrick said to Earnhardt after the victory in Michigan. “And that what is so good. It’s good for Junior, and he’s got an awful lot of fans and they ask me the same thing every time I see them … when is Junior going to win the race?.”

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/story/666858.html

 

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A happy Earnhardt fan here.

Now the media can stop the endless talk of the winless streak. Tony Stewart might get that now as he is getting up around 30 races.

How many more months or years (hell no) before they can write an article and not mention the team change?
 

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HEEEEEELLLLLLLLL YEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!!!! many more to come including the CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!
 

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There are plenty more drivers that have had a longer drought than Jr. Hendrick has had a difficult year getting ahead of Roush and Gibbs, and I believe this year will continue to be a struggle. Granted, Hendrick is great but just got a little behind and haven't brought their A game into this season. I think next year is going to bring them back on top though!
 

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I watched it. Being a Jr. fan, i was freaking out at the end of that race.
 

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I only watched the end because with the over hyping and advertising these races and about 395 miles too long. He got away with breaking the rules by passing the pace car, and was simply told not to. You can bet your ass that anyone else would get a pass through penalty.

It's been about advertising for a long time now, but for the last 5 years it's been getting more and more disgusting with each season. I wonder if with Alltel being bought out if Newman will be allowed to switch sponsors, or if they will pull the same crap they did with Burton.

Oh yea, and the best part of all is how NASCAR told all the drivers that they weren't allowed to say anything bad about the car. Should move NASCAR to Russia. Stewarts interview was great.
 

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Never liked him, overrated. But at least he doesn't have to wreck people to win like his dad did.

I can see your a huge fan of nascar in general. What is the reason you dont like him? Is it his name? Is it that he's the most popular driver? I think its hilarious when people dont like him because they think he's overrated. He is the first to admit that he is not as good as his father (whom won 7 champ, im sure you know that) and even says that Stewart and Busch drive like his dad ( hard/aggressive) excluding the excuse me/get the F*** outta the way. Yeah, he inherited thousands of fans due to his name, but that happened 7 yrs ago. He's doing good now, and not far off the lead, so I wouldnt call that overrated at all.
 

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I only watched the end because with the over hyping and advertising these races and about 395 miles too long. He got away with breaking the rules by passing the pace car, and was simply told not to. You can bet your ass that anyone else would get a pass through penalty.

It's been about advertising for a long time now, but for the last 5 years it's been getting more and more disgusting with each season. I wonder if with Alltel being bought out if Newman will be allowed to switch sponsors, or if they will pull the same crap they did with Burton.

Oh yea, and the best part of all is how NASCAR told all the drivers that they weren't allowed to say anything bad about the car. Should move NASCAR to Russia. Stewarts interview was great.
yeah, the stupid hour pre-race show is rediculous as with a lot of it. You think nascar really gives a sh** about the pacecar crap? He's not the first to do it, and wont be the last, until they say something in the prerace meetings, which they have yet to do.
 

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yeah, the stupid hour pre-race show is rediculous as with a lot of it. You think nascar really gives a sh** about the pacecar crap? He's not the first to do it, and wont be the last, until they say something in the prerace meetings, which they have yet to do.
Nah, I don't really care about it. I used to be a huge fan, from 1995-2007 I enver missed a race, this year I haven't watched a single race, occasionally I tune in to the last 20 laps. I might watch at Infinion and Watkins Glen, but the rest of them I can't put up with the advertising crap. It's getting pathetic.

I do think the rules need to be enforced every time though, I just think if that had been some nobody that usually runs in 30th place they would have been penalized, that's all.

It could be fixed though, it's not permanently ruined. The only races that need to stay as is are the Coke 600, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 though they've already ruined the name for the sake of advertising money). No other race should be longer than 300 miles. More people would stay tuned in if it wasn't a 5 hour event. Then take a race away from Pocono and give it to a track that you can stand to watch. Any track that provides boring races should be cut down to no more than 1 race per year.

It needs to be all about TV because attendance is going down due to the cost to drive there...most rednecks don't have the money for a cross country trip these days. Hence, if you make it more exciting ( SHORTER) you could keep people from changing the channel half way through.

NASCAR is not beyond repair, it jsut needs someone that cares about the sport more than money to run it.
 

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yeah, the stupid hour pre-race show is rediculous as with a lot of it. You think nascar really gives a sh** about the pacecar crap? He's not the first to do it, and wont be the last, until they say something in the prerace meetings, which they have yet to do.
Although not necessarily a precedent for this, wasn't it Tony Stewart who bump drafted the pace car on the back straight about 2 seasons ago? Earnhardt went passed, he got the warnings and got back in line.

Kenseth & Vickers would never have been in a position to win except for the late caution and we all know full well that nascar was shiatting bricks at the end with Jnr out in front again... who will wreck him this time?

Jnr fan but Vickers should be careful on his comments given he was conveniently forgetting he wreck Johnson & Earnhardt Jnr at 'Dega 2 years ago when Johnson was his team mate. That 1st place to 22nd place result didn't help Jnr in the chase at all.
 

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Nah, I don't really care about it. I used to be a huge fan, from 1995-2007 I enver missed a race, this year I haven't watched a single race, occasionally I tune in to the last 20 laps. I might watch at Infinion and Watkins Glen, but the rest of them I can't put up with the advertising crap. It's getting pathetic.

I do think the rules need to be enforced every time though, I just think if that had been some nobody that usually runs in 30th place they would have been penalized, that's all.

It could be fixed though, it's not permanently ruined. The only races that need to stay as is are the Coke 600, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 though they've already ruined the name for the sake of advertising money). No other race should be longer than 300 miles. More people would stay tuned in if it wasn't a 5 hour event. Then take a race away from Pocono and give it to a track that you can stand to watch. Any track that provides boring races should be cut down to no more than 1 race per year.

It needs to be all about TV because attendance is going down due to the cost to drive there...most rednecks don't have the money for a cross country trip these days. Hence, if you make it more exciting ( SHORTER) you could keep people from changing the channel half way through.

NASCAR is not beyond repair, it jsut needs someone that cares about the sport more than money to run it.
Yes many races need to be shortened( a la Pocono) and dropped (new hamp/pocono/calif), but Dega needs to stay as is. It would be nice for a race to start early again (11am) like they used to. Turn the tv on at 10:59, 5 min commentary, then the green flag.
 

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Although not necessarily a precedent for this, wasn't it Tony Stewart who bump drafted the pace car on the back straight about 2 seasons ago? Earnhardt went passed, he got the warnings and got back in line.

Kenseth & Vickers would never have been in a position to win except for the late caution and we all know full well that nascar was shiatting bricks at the end with Jnr out in front again... who will wreck him this time?

Jnr fan but Vickers should be careful on his comments given he was conveniently forgetting he wreck Johnson & Earnhardt Jnr at 'Dega 2 years ago when Johnson was his team mate. That 1st place to 22nd place result didn't help Jnr in the chase at all.
the pace car has been bumped many times over the years.
 

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I've commented to several friends that I think nascar sucks. I mean in the 60's/70's they would race STOCK cars. Would any of us be willing to drive a land yacht with drum brakes at 200mph? Now that takes balls.

Still glad Jr. won one.
Go #88
 

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Why is this front page news on GMI? Leave the NASCRAP stuff to hillbillies.com or the E channel, which is where it belongs.
 

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Why is this front page news on GMI? Leave the NASCRAP stuff to hillbillies.com or the E channel, which is where it belongs.
Front Page? This deserves it's own website. This is great. Long time waiting and now that he has that pressure off of him, I think we'll see more to come even though he says there was no pressure, there was. There had to be.
 
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