I have never been surprised that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has as many fans as he does.
And I’ve never been surprised that he hasn’t won a Cup championship, either.
And I think on Sunday we found out a big reason why.
After losing a 5-second lead midway through the Sylvania 300 in New Hampshire to a bad-handling race car on bad tires, Junior unloaded on crew chief and cousin Tony Eury Jr.
Courtesy of espn.com:
“We need a security guard over there watching those son-of-a-(expletive),” he screamed on his in-car radio. “… I can’t figure out why we keep (expletive) up in the middle of all these races. Every (expletive) time.”
That’s when car owner Rick Hendrick stepped in.
“You’ve got a great car right now,” Hendrick said. “Just take it easy.”
Responded Earnhardt: “This is (expletive) (expletive).”
“You got a bad set of tires,” Hendrick said. “It happens.”
And then Earnhardt: “I need to find another series that runs half-distance races.”
“You can do this,” Hendrick said back. “Talk to everybody about what the car is doing. We can make the right adjustments.”
Earnhardt continued though, saying, “I’m (ticked) off. Sometimes you go your fastest when you’re (ticked) off. So we’ll see.”
Said Hendrick: “Take it out on those guys in front of you.”
Now, this isn’t meant to single out Junior as if he’s the only driver in the sport who may say a curse word or two. Surely he’s not.
But how often have you heard Earnhardt after a race talk about how bad his car was? How many times have you heard Junior refer to his car as “junk”?
How many times have you heard him say that it was his poor performance that let the team down?
Not nearly as often as the other.
Junior has a bad habit of saying the setup was always wrong, therefore implying that his team’s mistakes were the only thing holding him back. It’s hard to deny that Junior has great driving ability, but it’s easy to believe that his pit crew and crew chief probably get tired of being thrown under the bus all the time.
Once Junior gets this figured out, he may win a title.