This is not to bash the Junior Nation but after the outcry this weekend and another beer chunking incident at Richmond because of a racing accident I'm wondering if the rest of the NASCAR fans are getting tired of the so called Junior Nation? I ask this because there is a pole on Foxsports asking who was at fault for the wreck Saturday Night, the picks are Junior, Bush, or neither. Surprisingly, out of 319,580 votes as of this writing 87 percent have said the wreck was Juniors fault. Me I voted neither it was a racing accident.
But seeing that vote reminded me of how another driver gained his fame and popularity in this great Sport. In the late 70's a brash young driver was emerging as an outstanding driver. He was bold, brash and everytime he got in front of a camera he let it be known that he was going to whip the competition. He even told COO COO Marlin once that Bristol was his track and not COO COO's even though Marlin was from that area of Tennessee. Of course I'm talking about Darrell Waltrip, but his rise isn't the story, in 1979 the old Alabama Gang was worried that DW would finally win a championship, so they made a pack that they would do what they had to to keep that from happening and a young unknown by the name of Dale Earnhardt won his very first championship. Now Dale was popular because he was from North Carolina and also because he wouldn't back down to DW and his talk, nor his pushing on the track. Well for a few years after 79 Dale was not heard of again but then he teamed with Richard Childress and well you know the rest of his success. DW on the other hand teamed with Junior Johnson and started to win races and dominate the circuit and was so bold that he brought T-shirts to the races to sell to his fans so everyone else could see how popular he was. It became such a big deal in the stands that if you didn't have a DW T-shirt on they you were rooting against him. It didn't matter who won the race to these fans as long as it wasn't DW. After Dale Teamed up with Richard Childress the fans soon learned that Dale was ready to fight fire with fire and he would bump and bang his way to a win too. So a lot of those fans who rooted against DW naturally starting rooting for Dale and wearing his gear. Thus, the popularity of Dale Earnhardt, not because he was considered a great driver when he started out, but because he was a driver that didn't back down to DW and his threats.
Now the question of this blog, are the rest of the NASCAR nation getting so tired of the "NATION" that they are going to start backing anyone that is willing to stand up to the NATION and keep their driver out of victory lane? Could the Dale Junior fans unwittingly be pushing a driver like Kyle Bush to the forefront of NASCAR popularity? I know there are a lot of people who dont' like Kyle, in fact Kyle has very few fans, but he is starting to gain attention and if he is willing to battle Junior for the win and he is not afraid to race him hard and if they both lose then so be it. I think you may see him become a favorite of those who don't like Junior because of the NATION.
Think about it. History does have a way of repeating itself.