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Junior had a weapon he failed to use in Martinsville

By admin | April 7, 2011

By Richard Allen

For the first time in quite a while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looked like he had a legitimate shot to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in the last ten laps this past Sunday at Martinsville. Had he really pressed the one advantage he has over every other driver, he might well have visited victory lane for the first time in almost three years.

Without much doubt, Junior is the most popular driver in the sport. That could provide him with a unique weapon in late race shootouts should he choose to use it. No one, with the possible exception of the Busch brothers, wants to be the subject of scorn and hate. Any driver who spins Junior out in the final ten laps of a race is going to be the subject of exactly that. The weapon he has at his disposal is his immense popularity advantage over everyone else.

Seemingly, all Junior had to do on Sunday, especially on a single groove track like Martinsville, was block his closest competitors and force them to take an aggressive approach to beat him. Eventual winner Kevin Harvick admitted after the race that he considered the ramifications of an Earnhardt win for the sport. Almost certainly, even the often brash Harvick also considered the ramifications of taking out the hero of half the grandstands.

Granted, blocking another driver for ten laps is not as easy as it sounds. And, I’m sure he was trying to do just that to a degree. However, keep in mind that tip-toeing around behind a driver you do not want to spin out could be just as daunting a task.

Kyle Busch spun Junior in Richmond a few years ago. Because of that, he became a target of the so called ‘Junior Nation’, a role he has seemed to relish. However, most drivers, or people in general, do not like being the bad guy.

It would be to Junior’s great advantage to use the weapon he has over everyone else. Every driver on the track seeks to find every edge possible. Every other driver on the track would love to have this same advantage available. Using the other driver’s fear of being labeled as the bad guy could have given Junior a win in Martinsville.

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7 Responses to “Junior had a weapon he failed to use in Martinsville”

  1. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Rich, I think the sad thing is Rick Hendrick may no longer have the option of putting off firing Jr. as I feel the majority of his fans, which me and my dad have noticed, have gone to Tony Stewart’s ever since Smoke went on his own.

  2. Nascarxtm Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:51 am

    And the driver with the greatest advantage has the most respect for other drivers and would never use that advantage. That’s why he is the most popular driver in Nascar.

    Tony Geinzer, you and your dad should lay off the drugs. Dale Jr’s fanbase is increasing, not decreasing. Tony will never, and I mean NEVER come close to being as loved as Dale Jr. Just FYI Mr Hendrick is trying to extend Jr’s contract. Nice try though.

  3. Michael Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Tony, have you ever attended a NASCAR race? It’s not even close!! Hell there is shrimp boats in Panacea with 88 on them, bull riders have his # on their vests ! WAKE UP!!

  4. Bob Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Not to get into the middle of a Junior debate or argument (ok maybe a little!), but it is typical of Junior fans to be in denial. Nothing to be ashamed of mind you, just a pattern I tend to see (my daughter mainly). Hang in there buckaroo.

    Huge Tony Stewart fan

  5. Overra88ted Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    There’s been yet again many lame, embarassing excuses from the Hypocrites in Jr. Nation this week, how they wouldn’t want poor Dale Jr. to take a win away from Kevin Harvick. The same Shameless Hypocrites in Jr. Nation won’t think twice about voting the PITY PASS for Dale Jr. to get into the Sprint All-Star race, a race for Winners, because Dale Jr. didn’t have the Balls to win at Martinsville. How embarassing! Wonder how much confidence the Hypocrites in Jr. Nation really have in Na$craps Most Popular Loser, using his God given average at best talent while driving the best equipment, for the best team in Na$crap, to finish in a transer spot, much less win the Sprint Open, a race for Losers. We already know Dale Jr. doesn’t have the Balls to decline the PITY PASS, because he didn’t want to win at Martinsville.

  6. Marybeth Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    If it were Mark Martin in Jr.’s place at the end of the race and he realized his back end was loose & a faster car was coming & did the smart thing instead of causing a wreck at the front of the field, you would be praising him as an experienced, savvy, gentleman driver & that that is the reason MM has lasted so long in the sport at the top level.

  7. Jerry Walker Says:
    April 10th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I love your to the point no bs ay of writing!!!