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Onlydales: 3 Reasons Why Dale Earnhardt Jr. Will Win Again in NASCAR

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Dale Tanhardt

The leading NASCAR Betting Podcast, Garage Guys is your go-to podcast to help you get the bag in the NASCAR Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup Series throughout the racing season. Tune in each week for NASCAR betting advice, picks, and fun conversations recapping race weekends.

Welcome back to Onlydales, NASCAR content created by Dale for Dales. I’m Dale Tanhardt, and maybe I lied about this being a Wednesday program. Maybe it’ll be Thursday. I don’t know; I’ll feel it out.

But I promise this is not clickbait. I genuinely believe that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a legitimate shot to secure a win before his part-time NASCAR career wraps up permanently. I’ve almost convinced myself that it will happen. Let me tell you why.

Dale Jr.’s performance at Bristol exuberated magic, excitement, and feelings that many NASCAR fans are unable to experience anymore. The diehard Dale Jr. fans (like myself) were on the edge of our seats from the moment the legitimate competitiveness sparked on Friday night. The prior two performances by Dale Jr. in his Xfinity Series starts in 2021 and 2022 were not as hoped, but he made up for the average performances with his run at Bristol last weekend.

Yes; he finished 30th. It’s his worst finish since he started his dedicated part-time gig in the series in 2018.
And it has me convinced he will win before it’s all said and done, and I have three reasons why.

The Competitive Spark Returned

In his prior two starts, Dale Jr. wasn’t much of a factor at the short tracks of Richmond and Martinsville. Richmond was certainly surprising back in 2021 considering his strong resume at the track in both the Cup and Xfinity Series. Martinsville was not as surprising and the race was a complete travesty of ridiculous ARCA-style crashes.

After those two races, I think fans hit a realization point that Jr. isn’t getting any younger (I’m not crying, you’re crying. Leave me alone), and the rust of not driving this stock car often enough to remain formidably competitive with an extremely youthful series marked the end of Jr.’s winning hopes. I may not be describing my fellow Jr. fans, but this is certainly how I felt.

I also think, in a way, this is how Jr. felt. I definitely read into his comments about not wanting to get in the way of the playoffs, racing to simply have as much fun as possible, and a desire to just complete all the laps to obtain his primary goal. Maybe I’m reading into it too much, but it painted a picture of non-winning aspirations.

It certainly felt like that all changed when Jr. started working his way through the field. The car was excellent. Jr.’s racecraft (that he was concerned about) was excellent. The pitstops coming from Chase Elliott’s Cup Series pit crew.. were excellent. It seemed like everything Jr. stated before the race and throughout the week leading up to the green flag was out the window (except the having fun part) when he realized, “Holy sh**, we can do this!”

I’m putting words in his mouth. I don’t know that’s what he actually said. But I can definitely hear him saying that, and it’s what I said as I literally started pacing frantically around my living room under caution prior to restarting on the front row. If cautions fall how they did in the Cup race, Jr. legitimately could’ve run away with a win.

The bottom line here is Dale Jr. and his team put together an effort and performance that sparked a competitive energy that felt missing in 2021 and 2022.

The Entire Team Performed Exceptionally, Not Just Dale Jr.

You can’t make a slow car go fast. I think Kevin Harvick said that once. He probably was saying that while getting lapped repeatedly on Saturday night. Dale Jr.’s car on Friday night was far from slow.

Jr.’s got one more shot in 2023 at Homestead with (hopefully) a few more shots at a win in the coming years. Homestead is certainly far different from Bristol, but it’s certainly encouraging that his crew chief Jason Stockert brought an extremely fast racecar. The pit crew they borrowed from the #9 team on Hendrick Motorsports was lights out. The entire team, including Dale Jr., put together a performance worthy of winning.

This is contrary to what Jr. had at Martinsville and Richmond, which have recently been under a Joe Gibbs Racing stranglehold since 2021. The race-winner list won’t tell you that for Richmond, but if you go watch those races, JGR was collectively faster than JR Motorsports.

Now, Jr’s. focus heads to a track that brought out some great performances later in his career and suits his driving style perfectly. It supports a veteran racecraft in the ability to maximize a difficult, high-riding line around the race track; a line that Dale Jr. excelled in his abilities later in his career and displayed a Top 5 performance at the track in 2020.

I also trust that Jason Stockert, in what will be his 3rd start as Dale Jr.’s crew chief will have a better handle on what Dale Jr. wants and needs in the car after the strong performance at Bristol. It also helps that Homestead has been a great JR Motorsports track over the last four to five years.

And that’s the third and final point.

Homestead: The Right Place For JR’s Winning Race

Remember Noah Gragson’s remarkable performances at this track? Performances that were astoundingly dominant. Hundreds of laps led, excellent driver performance, and phenomenally prepared racecars sum up what JR Motorsports gave to Noah Gragson in his pursuit to rip the top on the way to a win (should’ve been like 4 though). Tyler Reddick also won here in 2018 driving for JR with a similar recipe.

I think JR Motorsports heads here with strong potential to deliver the best equipment in the field. Toyota’s only win here dating back to 2017 is courtesy of Harrison Burton, who essentially stole it on an overtime finish when Gragson’s kryptonite was short runs.

Ford won here in 2020 with Chase Briscoe in what was one of the most dominant individual seasons in the history of the series. Otherwise, Chevy with JR Motorsports has prepped the fastest racecars in nearly each of the last 6 years at Homestead.

If this race boasts long green-flag runs, there may not be a better driver/car combo than Dale Earnhardt Jr. This track isn’t a Richmond or a Martinsville where you’re stuck half the time and struggling if you’re racecar isn’t A+. This is a driver’s racetrack with all sorts of different grooves, and driver ability is more colorfully displayed.

I believe these points combined with our passionate Dale Jr. hopes that we’ve lived off of for 20+ years now will propel America’s driver to victory (“and that’s why I think this is the Subway Right Combination”- Larry McReynolds probably), and I’m counting down the days to Homestead to see that #88 back in victory lane. You heard it here first.

Only on Onlydales.


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The leading NASCAR Betting Podcast, Garage Guys is your go-to podcast to help you get the bag in the NASCAR Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup Series throughout the racing season. Tune in each week for NASCAR betting advice, picks, and fun conversations recapping race weekends.

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