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Junior Nation is Smiling
June 18, 2012 - Al Stephenson
I have been to Nascar races at Michigan, Indy, Bristol and Sonoma and I can tell you the scene is the same no matter where you go - at least as far as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is concerned. When Jr. takes the lead the crowd goes wild. He is without a doubt the most popular driver in Nascar.
There are, I suppose, a number of reasons for his popularity. Many of his fans were backers of his dad. Others just like his demeanor. Whatever the case, he is cheered more than any other driver and when he crossed the finish line with his first win in four years, the MIS crowd was delirious. I will admit that as I watched the race on television I had a smile on my face. It is impossible to dislike the guy.
Or is it?
There is only one way that he will incur the wrath of the non Junior Nation crowd. Keep winning. The typical Nascar fan will turn on you in a hurry if you win too much. Ask Jeff Gordon, or Jimmie Johnson. Even Jr.'s dad was hated by many because he won too often. Of course his driving style made many fans mad. If your driver was nudged out of the way by the Intimidator, you were not happy - nor was your favorite driver.
The view from my seat suggests that Dale Jr.'s win at MIS was a very popular victory. His future wins will be popular with all Nascar fans too. As long as he wins once every four seasons!
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