Whats wrong with Junior, is that he's not Senior

Jim blogs on NASCAR's favorite son Dale Earnhart Junior

it's hard to follow in the footsteps of a famous father.   Especially if you share the same name. 

Jack Nicklaus Junior will never wear a green jacket at Augusta, nor see his name carved along with his dad's on the  U.S. Open Trophy.

Pete Rose Junior was the apple of his father's eye,  but he was a lemon on the baseball diamond.  He tried for years to make his own way in baseball, but he didn't have what it takes.

Big things were expected of Dale Earnhardt Junior.   He was a rising young talent on the  racing scene,  making his own way as he learned the craft of his father.   He was even able to compete with Dale Senior on the track, and win on the NASCAR circuit.  No doubt some of the most fulfilling moments of both their lives.

But the death of Dale Senior changed everything.  Millions of Senior's fans instantly transferred their allegiance to Junior  with the hope that everything would be just like before.  In the minds of the  Earnhardt Nation,  Dale Junior  would be a young clone of his dad, hauling ass around the track and keeping that sum-bitch  Jeff Gordon in his place.

For awhile Dale Junior lived up to the expectations .  He won 18 times and was a contender in the points race.  But his career has cooled off and that has his fans confused. " What's wrong with Junior?"  " Why  isn't he winning?"    There have been team changes, crew chief changes and  car changes.   But nothing has worked.  

Dale Junior is regularly the winner of the most POPULAR driver poll in NASCAR.   But  he's certainly  not the BEST driver.  Not by a long shot.  Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and at least a half dozen others have eclipsed him in skill and accomplishment on the track.

It's time for Earnhardt fans to face facts.  Dale Junior is not Dale Senior.   He won't surpass his father's accomplishments.   He can just be the best Dale Junior he can be.    You may not like having mediocrity associated with the Earnhardt name, but you'll have to get used to it.

A father can pass along his name  to his son, but not his talents.









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