A True Winner

2009 was a season full of ups and downs. Seeing Mark Martin back in victory lane was great, as well as Tony winning his first race as a team owner and Brad Keselowski winning at Talladega. So many great events happened in 2009.

However, everything must come down at some point. Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a very bad season in 2009; actually, bad doesn’t really cut it. Whenever it seems the car was finally working or having a great run, something would happen: a wreck, flat tire, you name it. No matter what, Junior could not catch a break. The hurt and disappointment were evident: you could tell by the way he spoke and in his face. Sad to say, the smiling, happy-go-lucky Junior was not there.

But no matter the outcome of a race, or how bad Junior would finish, he would simply brush it off and say we will come back next week stronger. It's comments like that that make him a true winner. It doesn’t matter how many races a driver wins, but really what matters is the heart and the will of the driver at hand.

Dale Jr. never gave up during the terrible season he was having. Many of us would have just called it quits and threw in the towel, but Junior didn’t; he just kept a positive altitude. The going got tough, but Junior never stopped doing what he loved, and that is, as we all know, racing. It is very simple: racing is in his blood.

Dale Earnhardt once said, “When he was young, I told Dale Jr. that hunting and racing are a lot alike. Holding that steering wheel and holding that rifle both mean you better be responsible.”

Junior took that responsibility when he left DEI, the company his father built, to race for Rick Hendrick. The pressure was even greater on Junior to win and to be a champion, but no matter what, Junior never let the pressure get to him. He is a responsible team owner for JR Motorsports, which will have two new drivers, Danica Patrick and Kelly Bires, who will be replacing Keselowski.

No matter how many races Jimmie Johnson wins or championships, Dale Jr. is a true winner because it doesn’t matter how many races you win--what matters is the will and the heart of the person in mind. Junior's heart and actions are the way of a winner; he may not win like Johnson, but he is a winner with the fans and this sport. Junior brings joy to many fans and people. Dale Jr. is a one-of-a-kind person without whom I feel NASCAR wouldn’t be the same.

You may or may not agree with me, that’s fine, but I feel in my heart that Dale Jr. is a true winner. The 2009 season proved it because no matter how bad it was, he never gave up. He kept racing and racing, doing what he loves, which is really all that matters.

He has the talent--we all know this. He has the heart and devotion to be the best and come 2010, we will see a brand new Dale Jr.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the individual writer and may not reflect those of the group.
Photo: From Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway on Flickr
A True Winner A True Winner Reviewed by Lacy Page on Monday, January 18, 2010 Rating: 5