Through the Eyes of a Fan

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

For the last two years it has been a disappointment. In 2009 I came into the NASCAR season excited and ready to see my 88 back in action. I could barley hold my excitement - you have no idea. When the season started, I had no idea just how much I would endure. Not only did my driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. not make the Chase, he also got a new crew chief, a move I hoped would help fix the problem … little did any of us know…

2010 started off strong. Finishing second in the Daytona 500 showed that maybe, just maybe, Junior and Lance McGrew were a good combo. The season started out looking great, with Junior up to 10th in the points. But sadly, sometimes the things that look great on the surface aren't always that good underneath.

Slowly the finishes started to get worse; suddenly, Junior wasn’t even in the Chase. The once great-looking season was starting to fade away into dust, and all my hopes and wishes with it. To me, I wasn’t feeling Lance; to me, Lance wasn’t a good match for Junior. Half the time it was hard to even listen to the two talk on the radio. Before you know it, I was getting ready to just throw the towel in myself, but I wouldn’t do it - I wouldn’t give up!

There were plenty of times people from Twitter, Facebook - heck, even my own family members - suggested I like a new driver. There were times when I thought maybe I should - maybe if I stopped liking Dale Junior all together, then all the anger I felt would go away.

But for a fan like me, that isn’t something I would do, for you see I’m loyal and dedicated to my driver. No matter how poor he finishes, no matter if he ever wins a race, I stick by my driver. Quitting isn’t in my blood, nor is it in my vocabulary.

When the 2010 season was over, I sighed yet again, another season which broke me down and made me feel all sorts of emotions inside. No matter how much I wanted Lance gone and replaced with someone else, I’d stay positive and support my driver no matter what. I guess someone heard my prayers or saw my tweets ...

November 24th. I remember getting all these tweets about a big change at Hendrick. I remember laughing and shaking my head when I read:

“Steve Letarte, Dale Junior’s crew chief.”

I didn’t believe it, not one word of it. It took someone sending me an article and seeing a video for me to truly believe it. Shock, relief, happiness - those were the three emotions I felt the most. But I wouldn’t get my hopes up, why should I? When for two years it’s all been disappointment, I wasn’t convinced that anything would come from Letarte. Boy, was I proved wrong in so many ways.

I know this season is early yet and things can still go wrong, but through my eyes this feels right. The pairing of Steve and Junior is amazing; they work well together and for the first time in years my driver is smiling again, something many of us fans have missed. I know there are still a lot of races yet in the season, but there’s a fire back in Junior, a fire that hasn’t been there in a long time.

I thank LeAwesome for bringing that back into Junior; in my eyes, the changes I’ve seen in my driver have made me enjoy NASCAR again. I don’t feel anger and hurt like I have the past two years; for once, I feel … relieved. There’s many things as a fan I’ve seen and felt, but that’s just what makes us fans that great and amazing.

Through the eyes of a fan, I’m someone who doesn’t quit on my driver. I’m someone who when everyone is telling me to give up and quit, I don’t. I’m someone who basically stays strong and supports their driver no matter what. Through the good, the bad and the ugly, I stayed strong. Through the eyes of a fan, I may even look like you.

The views above are solely those of the writer.
Through the Eyes of a Fan Through the Eyes of a Fan Reviewed by Lacy Page on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 Rating: 5