Every NASCAR driver goes through patches of inconsistency in their career and needs some external help sometimes to get out of the slump.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. might not have been as successful as his legendary dad, Dale Sr. but he surely was a successful driver by any standard. And like any other driver, he had moments of difficulties in the race track. But the fact that he was the most popular driver in the sport and had the backing of the fans helped him o many occasions. Earnhardt Jr. said:
“There was a stretch when things were going pretty bad with my job with Rick Hendrick. There were days when you just looked around and you knew you didn’t have that same confidence as the guy next to you. My fan base and the support I had from those fans is the reason why I wasn’t let go. Being that most popular driver, that saved my bu-t a few times in my career. I was able to turn it around and get back to victory lane and all that.”
Earnhardt Jr. won 15 straight Most Popular Driver Awards in his career and had 26 Cup Series victories. However, he never won the championship. It is not a very big number considering his career spanned nearly two decades. Earnhardt Jr. admits that it was the fans’ support that helped him keep his job for a long time.
“That fan base was absolutely the reason why I was able to keep my job. There were certain situations where probably the next guy would’ve gotten fired.”
It’s a very honest self-assessment coming from a Hall of Famer.