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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