Dale Earnhardt Jr Wraps Up Wild Week
Following his victory in Sunday night’s Daytona 500 Dale Earnhardt Jr. floated into the speedway’s media center around midnight grinning like a Cheshire cat. He shouted out a huge cry of joy that pretty much stopped all the quiet work of the reporters gathered there.
“Bet that doesn’t happen too much in here does it,” Earnhardt questioned.
On Wednesday’s conference call with members of the NASCAR media family Junior sincerely expressed how much he enjoyed the call. Quite a difference from many drivers who just view those calls as another media obligation.
You could feel the emotion in Earnhardt’s voice. Instantly you know why this man is NASCAR’s most popular driver year after year.
The Daytona 500 trophy is the biggest prize in motorsports. And when Dale Earnhardt Jr claimed it then it became that much bigger.
Not long after the race Dale Earnhardt Jr made good on a promise to Michael Waltrip by sending out his first tweet. The deal was that if Junior won the 500 he would join Twitter. Here’s what he had to say.
“I just started using my Twitter handle that I’ve had for several years. Haven’t had a chance to follow anybody yet,” Junior said.
At the time Earnhardt had 213,000 followers on the social media site despite having never made the first tweet. At last count he was up to 528,000.
Earnhardt was still bubbling with enthusiasm when he appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman Monday night.
A driver who is consistently finishing races in the top 5 is bound to win sooner or later. The same goes for Dale Jr who with his win Sunday has finished either first or second in 4 of the past 5 Daytona 500s.
When one reporter asked him about the intensity level of the Daytona 500 Dale Earnhardt Jr had this to say:
“I could feel it. It was electric, man. I don’t know what the hell was going on or why it was like that. I wish I knew because that’s what NASCAR wants to bottle and sell.
It felt so different than any other race I’d ever been in, any other Daytona 500 I’d been in for sure. The intensity level was at a max. Races usually have a lull in the middle, don’t get going till the end when it’s time to put money on the line, people start picking up the intensity. We sustained it from the time we started, restarted, all the way to the end. I couldn’t believe it.
I think people were enjoying themselves. I think everybody was having fun with each other, putting each other in difficult situations, bringing out the best in each other. There was really something special going on.
I know everybody thinks it’s the greatest race they ever saw because Dale Jr. won it. Taking that out of the equation, I think it really was an exciting race and one of the most exciting Daytona 500s I’ve ever been in and one of the most intense races I’ve ever been in.
The drivers were really feeding off each other out there. It was a really weird kind of deal. But it was fun. We were really having fun.
I cannot wait to watch it. I bet I watch it three times in a row back-to-back. I can’t wait.”
With the win Earnhardt became the championship points leader and is virtually a lock to be in the Chase. The pressure is off now. He can simply race to win.
It would not be a surprise to see Earnhardt run the table at this point. He has momentum and confidence on his side.
How would you rate this year’s Daytona 500, was it one of the greatest races you have seen?