Speed Weeks at Daytona International Speedway for NASCAR is over. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was slicing and dicing in every race he was in much like he did 10 years ago when he dominated racing at Daytona. His hard work culminated in winning his second Daytona 500.
To say that Dale Jr. was happy after winning the Daytona 500 is a tremendous understatement. Dale Jr. was indeed happy, excited, relived, and perhaps overwhelmed with all that happened. The smile on his face when he got out of the car was almost big enough to explode off of his face.
One could tell that Dale Earnhardt Jr. had taken the momentum he had from last year to an even higher level. One that brought back some fun to the sport he loves.
“I know I’m the first feature winner and we are in the Chase. I’m pumped up man. Trust me man we are going to have a blast this year.” Dale Jr. said,
He knew right away that he not only won the Daytona 500 but also is all but assured a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He has been released from point racing. Dale Jr. and his Crew Chief Steve Letarte can race for wins.
No more trepidation, no more apprehension or anxiety, no more conservative racing to save a top ten.
If they are running in the top five and Letarte thinks they have enough fuel, no worries, go for it. If they are deeper in the field and tires matter they can short pit and steel a win. If it doesn’t work, no worries. On a short track Dale Jr. can be more aggressive, no worries.
Steve Letarte said, “I don’t think it changes much before you win. I don’t think anybody can take any bigger chances we already take to try to win. I think once you have won one, it gives you an opportunity to really take borderline ridiculous chances. It really does. If there is a slim chance, that’s really all the chance you need.”
Watch out but NASCAR just might have created a Championship that suits Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his style of racing.
Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.
Featured Photo Credit: 295434Tom Pennington/Getty Images