Is Dale Earnhardt Jr. A victim of fate as soon as it involves winning acceleration Cup races or championships?Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fans are perhaps the many optimistic in sports.Their driver has actually won 19 gyeongju in his Cup career.During his very first six full-time seasons, native 2000 to 2005, plus the very first 10 races of 2006, that earned 16 victories.But because the 11th gyeongju of 2006, he"s managed just 3 wins in 252 starts—or one success in every 84 races.Certainly not the kind of initiative that wins championships.Last season, Earnhardt winner his an initial race since 2008—ironically enough, both came at Michigan global Speedway—which the sprint Cup collection visits once again in 2 weeks.Does that typical Junior is early for another win there? Why not this Sunday in ~ Dover, or next Sunday at Pocono or in ~ Daytona or Indianapolis following month?Indeed, why doesn"t small win an ext races? Or why hasn"t the at the very least won more since 2006, one year before he left the firm his dad founded—Dale Earnhardt Inc.—and like LeBron James, that went native Cleveland come Miami, bring away his talent native DEI to Hendrick Motorsports?That"s among the greatest ongoing inquiries in NASCAR—and one that may never it is in answered.When Earnhardt moved to HMS, he had the promise that the best of everything: the finest equipment, the finest personnel and arguably the finest funding of any type of organization in the sport.It seemed prefer it would certainly be a slam dunk the Junior would certainly not only start to win a ton that races, but that championships—with one "s," together in multiple Cup titles—would come in bunches as well.As it turned out, though, it was Jimmie Johnson, no Junior, that won multiple championships: 5 in a heat from 2006 through 2010.And since his relocate to HMS in 2008, Junior has actually won simply two gyeongju in 190 starts, or one win for every 95 races.He"s had three crew chiefs in five-plus years: He lugged cousin Tony Eury Jr. With him to HMS, a pairing that lasted less than one-and-a-half years.Then came Lance McGrew, who lasted simply over one-and-a-half seasons.And due to the fact that the begin of 2011, Earnhardt has actually been under the tutelage of among the finest crew chiefs in the game, Steve Letarte.Still, though, Junior, the multi-millionaire and most popular driver in the sports for the last 10 year running, hasn"t been able come buy a win even if he want to.What"s up v that?Earnhardt, now 38 (can you think he"s the old already?), has never lacked because that attention. How can he, through a name prefer that and being the prodigy of his late father, one of the greatest motorists in NASCAR history?But it"s what Junior has lacked much too much over the last 7 seasons—most especially consistency and also momentum—that finds him where he is today:Still trying to find his an initial Sprint Cup championship.And through each season that"s unable to do by, the same male who won 2 Busch collection championships in the late 1990s grow further and also further far from what he"s sought ever since he slid behind the wheel of a gyeongju car.At this juncture, Earnhardt might never success that elusive Cup title. Obviously, his chances obtain smaller and smaller as each season passes.But his absence of a crowning achievement in the Cup ranking isn"t miscellaneous you have the right to pin specifically on Junior. Friend can"t to speak he ran the end of talent, friend can"t to speak he doesn"t desire to win and you most certainly can"t say he doesn"t desire that championship worse 보다 anything in the world.But what you can say is he"s perhaps among the many snake-bitten chauffeurs in the garage as soon as it come to poor luck and also misfortune. And also it"s there that the real most likely reason why he"s fail to win a championship resides.

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Look in ~ 2004: He spent the very first half the the season leading the standings or in 2nd place. Climate he had that horrific crash and also resulting fire, once he blacked out briefly upon affect while practicing because that an American LeMans series race in Sonoma, Calif., suffering significant burns that would plague him because that the rest of that year.End result: While he did walk on come win 3 races ~ his crash-and-burn illustration (part of a career-high 6 wins in a season), Earnhardt at some point finished fifth in the final standings.

Or how about 2008: ~ not having a win for an ext than 2 years, he finally came with at Michigan. Expectations were high climate that he had actually put the worst slump the his job behind him and also that numerous wins would shortly be forthcoming.End result: He would go on to have actually over 140 an ext starts prior to he lastly reached win lane in a Cup auto again.

And then there to be 2012: In a year in i beg your pardon he had actually his best all at once performance because 2008, Earnhardt not only hovered close to the top of the standings for the an initial 26 races before the follow for the sprint Cup, he finally won a race again.

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End result: yet there to be a concussion throughout testing in ~ Kansas in August the he never ever told everyone about, complied with by being captured up in a large wreck at Talladega during the follow that led to a 2nd concussion and also forced him come sit out two races, ending his championship really hopes yet again.Is Earnhardt cursed? You absolutely could do a case for that, based upon some of the crazy things that have happened come him.Even this season, he began out well, ranging from first to fifth through the course of the very first 11 races. However as he enters this Sunday"s race at Dover, kicking off the 2nd third the the 36-race season, he"s dropped ago to a season-low of 6th place. He"s had actually three top-five and also seven top-10 finishes in the very first 12 races, i beg your pardon isn"t bad.But once all is said and also done, Earnhardt has become somewhat that a forgotten guy this season because more attention is once again being concentrated on Johnson, who has actually been No. 1 in the standings because that the last seven weeks, and the rebirth of Carl Edwards, who has actually spent the last several weeks nearby on Johnson"s tail in second place.But when it concerns Earnhardt, his name has become nearly an afterthought already, simply one-third of the way through the current campaign.Maybe when you boil it all down, the factor Junior doesn"t win much more races isn"t about him in ~ all, nor his well known name, his team, the organization he races for, the personnel who job-related with him or anything choose that.Nor is it most likely a matter of someone pressing too difficult or acquisition too numerous unnecessary chances.No, maybe the genuine reason Earnhardt doesn"t win an ext races is that he isn"t destined to do so. Ditto for a Cup championship; perhaps it"s simply not in his destiny.Fate hasn"t been sort to Junior, native the work he tragically shed his dad in the 2001 Daytona 500 to every the trials and also tribulations that he"s unable to do through and endured due to the fact that then.Maybe what we check out today and what we"ve viewed throughout his career, an especially his time in ~ DEI, is the ideal we"re ever going to obtain from one Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Jr.And you recognize what? There"s absolutely nothing wrong v that at all. He"s still a an excellent driver in his very own right, the sport"s greatest fan favorite and a most likely first-round inductee when he i do not care eligible for the NASCAR hall of Fame five years after the retires together a driver.What"s wrong through all that? no everyone have the right to be a Cup champion or can win races with the relative ease of men like Johnson, Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart.Earnhardt has actually nothing to it is in ashamed of. The is that he is, and also that"s quite darned good. While he might not success as much as he supplied to, he"ll constantly be looked upon in the mind of his fans together a winner.You can"t win that.Follow me top top Twitter


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