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« It looks to be a wild Daytona 500 | Main | NASCAR’s yellow line needs to fade to black »

Will Junior Nation pack the grandstands after qualifying success?

By admin | February 13, 2011

By Richard Allen


According to broadcasters during this past weekend’s events at the Daytona International Speedway, there are still tickets available for the Daytona 500. On Sunday afternoon, track president Joie Chitwood got just about the best news he could have received when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. put his Chevrolet on the pole for the most coveted race in NASCAR.

The thunderous roar from the grandstands when Junior’s time was announced is proof positive that the so called ‘Junior Nation’ has not given up on their favorite driver despite his lack of success over the past two seasons. However, there has to be at least some of NASCAR’s attendance drop off of that same time period that can be attributable to the failures of the sport’s most popular driver.

Junior has not won a race in over two years and he has not qualified for the Chase for the Championship playoff in either of those seasons.

But a pole winning run offers hope for the possibility of that which has not happened in 93 races. Even the driver himself feels optimistic, to a degree. “Obviously, it gives you good ideas that you have a great car,” he said. “Anybody can win the race. I mean there are guys that qualified outside the top 20 that have winning cars. So it’s going to be a tough race to win.”

And best of all for the track, this good news came a full week prior to the race itself. That gives fans who might have been wavering as to whether they might want to go plenty of time to make arrangements.

So perhaps the sound you hear on Monday morning might be the rumble of ‘Junior Nation’ rushing to their phones to place ticket orders and fill the grandstands of the Daytona 500. And those fans can take heart in this piece of information. Last year, Junior qualified 2nd and finished 2nd. Maybe the improvement of one spot in time trials will equate to one spot gained in the race.

Having an Earnhardt win ten years after another Earnhardt lost his life at the track would seem all too fitting.

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4 Responses to “Will Junior Nation pack the grandstands after qualifying success?”

  1. gary Says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 10:55 am

    When will the hype over Junior stop? Maybe after another season of mediocre results with the best of everything, equipment and personnel? They are a loyal bunch, these Jr Nationers, but only a fool expects different results after trying the same thing over again.

  2. Steve Says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I am a huge Jr fan, and I am under no illusions that he the greatest driver or any of that crap. I wont jump ship just because he has struggled of late. And even if he never sees victory lane again, I will still be a loyal fan. But Jr having a strong showing at Daytona is almost as news worthy as the sun rising in the morning…. I wont get up, or down for that matter until I see the results of Phoenix and Vegas…but, to answer the question of whether that will help sell out Daytona for this weekend, I would say it isnt going to hurt ticket sales….

  3. Ginger Says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    A better question, Gary, is when will people like you quit reading and commenting on stories about Dale Jr? It’s obvious you don’t like him, so why spend your time with anything involving him? I don’t bother with stories about drivers I don’t like. It’s pointless and a waste of time. What is your problem?

  4. Jacee Says:
    February 15th, 2011 at 4:37 am

    It is sad there is even a question about ticket sales at Daytona. The 500 Race is not a sellout? What a pity and a true ’sports anomaly’.
    Expect more “un-sellouts” for the rest of the racing season, as this is the continuation of a sad reality.
    Witness the decline of NASCAR, period.
    Even if Dale, Jr. wins every race, it is totally unrealistic to expect NASCAR to regain its once lofty perch. The sport of racing simply does not have enough social relevance to merit a profitable economic payoff, and its entertainment value is significantly lessened by its “personalities” becoming less appealing and marketable.
    The party is just about over……as the public decides it has had just about all the exhaust fumes and “aw shucks-es” it can endure.