For the seventh year in a row, NASCAR fans have selected Dale Jr as the Most Popular Driver.
Really? I don’t see it.
I don’t think Jr really does either. And it shows in his racing.
In fact a few years ago he skipped the award ceremony all together. He said he learned a lesson from that and has personally accepted each one since then.
He hasn’t been the most dominant of drivers. Bill Elliott wasn’t really either, but he has won a Championship. He has won the MPD award 16 times. So many in fact that they will rename the award after him when he retires from the sport.
Richard Petty has won the award 9 times. We all know how popular and successful he was.
Bill won the award a record 10 years in a row. In 2001 it went to Dale Sr, the year he died, and then back to Bill in 2002.
Enter Dale Jr.
Since 2003, the fans of NASCAR have given this award to Dale Jr for what can only be explained as a proxy for his dad. His performance on the track certainly hasn’t justified it. I know it’s not all about what goes on at the track and I’m sure Dale Jr has made an impact in the lives of others be it his charitable work or the like, but I still just don’t see it.
His heart just isn’t in the sport anymore. He said upon receiving the award this year “I can’t thank them enough (the fans), so I guess I’ll just keep showing up.”
So you are only showing up to race because of us fans? Really? I mean I know this is a fan sport, but you have to have some other reason to go out there and risk your life by driving 200 mph with 42 other cars inches apart besides us fans.
He also said, “There’s a big sense of that I earned this, that I deserve this because of my family name.” You got that right.
“My father, he gave me a hell of a gift in popularity, so my job has been to try to be an asset to the sport and to maintain that gift and it’s integrity.” Then why don’t you try winning a few more races or at least be in contention to win a few more races.
He has been with Hendrick Motorsports now for two full years and has only won one race in that time, none this year.
Dale – it’s time to start being a winning driver and not just a popular driver.