Dale Earnhardt Jr. is heir to the greatest racing family in history. But, he’s much more than just a storied name. He is also NASCAR’s most popular driver, he brings in the most revenue, and he sells more fan gear than any other driver. With credentials like that, you might think he would be at the top of the pack when it comes to racing wins, also, but that isn’t the case, I’m afraid.
In fact, Junior hasn’t won a race in over 2 years and has never won a championship. So, what exactly is it that makes him so popular? This is one of the most common questions asked among those who aren’t big Junior fans. As a Dale Jr. fan myself, let me answer this for you, from my perspective.
Many people believe that Jr. inherited a lot of fans from his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., a NASCAR legend, after his father was killed in a racing accident. Some people think he’s only popular because of his last name.
Would he be as popular if his last name wasn’t Earnhardt? Probably not, to be honest, but his last name is a part of his family’s racing legacy. Junior is carrying on that legacy, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But his last name will only get him so far. While it may be true that Jr. inherited a lot of fans from his father and grandfather, it’s also true that he couldn’t have kept these fans if he didn’t deserve them.
If Junior’s last name wasn’t Earnhardt, I’d still be a fan of the guy. But there are other drivers racing today that if their name *was* Earnhardt, I still wouldn’t like them no matter how many races they won.
Dale Jr. is popular because he has talent and personality. People are drawn to him. He’s a regular guy who could be your buddy. He’s not polished or image conscious. He’s the real deal. He’s not a pretender or a pretty boy. He has a country boy image that guys can relate to and women are attracted to.
He is young, energetic, and good looking (or so I’m told). He has a Southern drawl and a twinkle in his eye. He is a humble and down-to-earth race car driver of the people. He has done a lot for the sport and he is active in charity work, as well, being very generous with his time and money.
He is a good business man and has been very smart about the way he markets himself.
He is a great race car driver. He won 2 Busch championships. That takes a lot of talent. He also won some big races in the past, such as Daytona and Talladega.
Older fans like him because they liked his father. Middle age fans like him and link him to Budweiser and dirt tracks. The younger crowd likes the fact that he’s single, good-looking, and makes tons of cash driving real fast!
He’s also popular with NASCAR itself, because he fills the seats at the races. They love his popularity and marketability. He brings in more merchandising sales than any other driver. The bottom line is that Jr. makes money for NASCAR and they love him for it. Do they want him to win? Yes they do. Because when Jr. wins, everyone wins. In fact, it’s been said that you can shut your eyes at a race and tell if Jr. is leading by the roar from the crowd.
Not a bad gig, if you can get it!
That’s one guy’s opinion, worth what you paid for it!