Published on May 2nd, 2008 | by Michael J Smith0
Two Years, 71 Races
With Richmond coming up this weekend, the number one thing on any Junior fan’s mind is, is this the week Junior gets his long-time coming, first Hendrick Motorsports win?
Oddsmakers figured last week would be his week. I mean, Junior’s got a storied history at ‘Dega, not to mention a knack for drafting and restrictor plate racing. If you combine that with Hendrick, which has dominated at plate tracks, it would seem that is a winning combination. Unfortunately, last weekend, it wasn’t.
So, at Richmond this weekend, it becomes official: Junior hasn’t won a points-paying race in two years. Sure he won the Bud Shootout and one of the Gatorade Duels. But, fans and the media want a points win from Junior. Until that happens, they continue to believe that he’s all hype.
The interesting thing is that once he wins, then they’ll be calling for a championship. If he wins one, then they’ll be calling for 8. Junior can’t win because his last name just so happens to be Earnhardt.
If you look at his stats, he’s third in points this year. He has seven top 10 finishes in the first 9 races. His two non-top 10 finishes are 12th and 40th, when he was caught up in Casey Mears’ wreck at California. That, to me, is respectable.
But it seems to mean nothing that he is running consistently every week, something he wasn’t doing with DEI last year. He needs to win for validation. If he wins some races, then he’ll need a championship for validation. Truth is, if he keeps this up, with or without wins, he’ll be in the hunt for the championship, and that’s what every fan should want.