The return of Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2017 marks the return of one fan

credit: Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs
By Lacy Keyser 

When Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was out for the rest of the 2016 season, it shaped my season of NASCAR. Since there was no Junior, that meant I was done for the rest of 2016.

I didn’t have the drive or the passion to watch my favorite sport any more. I didn’t even want updates. That sounds bad. It makes me sound like a bandwagon fan, but that’s really not true. Not having Earnhardt Jr. in races didn’t feel right. In a way, his absence reminded me of how I felt the first race after Dale Earnhardt died. 

No.88, no me.

Also, just like Junior was seeing what steps he needed to take to ensure his health was safe and that he was fit to race, I was going through my own new adventure. There was college, moving out of my childhood home, and doing this thing called being an adult.

Without NASCAR races, like Earnhardt Jr., my Sundays were different now. It was hard to not watch races, it really was, but I still stayed away.

There were times I felt out the of loop with my Skirts and Scuffs family, as well as my friends who watch NASCAR. When everyone talked about racing and what happened that week, I’d be sitting there in Lacy World.

But after I had took my last final on December 8th, I got messages from my close friend, Amanda. My Facebook timeline was blowing up with news. Junior was back! He was medically cleared to race. After long months, I was finally excited again for NASCAR.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has always had a huge fan following. His fans have always been called “Earnhardt Nation.” That fact stands tall.  Despite not racing the last half of the 2016 season Junior was able to win Most Popular Driver for the 14th season in a row.

So when Daytona rolls around, Junior will have a huge welcome back to the track. His fans have missed him, and I believe even non-fans missed him. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is, and always has been the heart and soul of this sport. He speaks to the fans and he gives a lot of us hope when we need it most.

I for one can’t wait to see Junior back in action in 2017, taking Daytona by storm.

Plus, he and I are both facing a new life event at almost the same time. 


Junior is getting married tonight, New Year's Eve, and I’ll be getting married in July. Talk about an adventure! I wish him and fiancée Amy Reimann all the best as they start their lives together as husband and wife. 

Welcome back, Dale, Jr.  It's going to be good to have you back on the track.
The return of Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2017 marks the return of one fan The return of Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2017 marks the return of one fan Reviewed by Lacy Page on Saturday, December 31, 2016 Rating: 5