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Dale Jr. Wins the Daytona 500

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It’s been ten years in the making, and finally Dale Jr. won the Daytona 500. There has been a change in Earnhardt starting towards the end of the 2012 season, and progressing through last season. Junior seemed more confident, his attitude improved, and his racing got better. Much of the credit goes to Steve Letarte, his crew chief, for believing in Dale, when he couldn’t believe in himself.Getting dale back on the right track was the first thing Letarte had on his agenda. The second was getting the the racing cars faster, and more suited to dale’s driving style. Slow but steady progression was made, withe the culmination being the Daytona 500.

Could winning the Daytona 500 be the rejuvenation of Dale Earnhardt jr? It certainly doesn’t hurt. Dale still has the fire in his belly, the skills necessary to be a winning race car driver, and the financial backing of Hendrick Motor Sports. On the negative side, Dale has been racing a lot of years, and like everyone else, he’s getting older. If I had to guess, I would say he’s got five or six good racing years ahead of him before he decides to leave full time driving, and concentrate more on his own team, while picking a choosing which races he wants to participate it.

It looks to me like an exciting Nascar season ahead, and an especially rewarding one for Junior.

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