Go ahead and love Dale Earnhardt Junior. He is, after all, the son of NASCAR’s most popular driver ever — sorry, King Richard, but it’s a fact that Dale Sr. past you in popularity after his death in ’01. I just want to make sure you Junior lovers understand he isn’t his daddy. In the Earnhardt’s case, the apple did fall far from the tree.

In many ways — all of them away from the track — Junior outshines his daddy. Junior is smarter and more gregarious. But as a driver, Junior can’t carry his daddy’s spare tire.

Dale Sr. is arguably the greatest driver all of time. Some might put David Pearson ahead of him. Some might rank King Richard Petty a notch above him. I’ll bet even Jeff Gordon might be slightly better in the opinion of some race experts.

Junior is a mediocre driver at best. He has always had the top-notch equipment and an outstanding support group. The fact he hasn’t won in nearly three years isn’t bad luck and being in the wrong places at the wrong time. It is obvious my now that whatever separates the great drivers from the pack when they’re behind the wheel is something Junior didn’t inherit from his daddy.


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