Dale Earnhardt Jr DOES attend NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet

12/4/09 in NASCAR   |   Debi_L   |   11846 respect

A few years ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr didn't attend the Awards Banquet to receive his "Most Popular Driver" Award, rather making a video acceptance instead.  He earned the wrath of every columnist and many of his fans. 

This year, he travelled to Las Vegas to make his acceptance, appearing in front of the crowd after making his way from the "nosebleed" section to the stage, and gave his acceptance speech live.  He then spent approximately 20 minutes answering questions from the media before travelling back home to his new house in North Carolina. 

He spoke about the honor bestowed upon him by his fans, and the importance he places on the award.  As we have all speculated, however, even though he is honored by his fans' love for him, he also pondered whether he earned the award, or whether it has been bestowed on him because of his name, the very argument we see right here on the Q more often than not - that he is so loved only because of his dad.  He said,

"There's a big sense of, did I earn this? Did I deserve it, because of my family name?"  My father gave me a hell of a gift in popularity. My job has been to try and be an asset to the sport. To try and maintain that gift, and its integrity, and the name my father has built, the respect that it has, the Earnhardt name and all that. There are a lot of emotions that kind of run through when I accept the award."

Of course, Rick Hendrick announced earlier that the 88 is his priority for 2010 and already steps have been taken in the garage the 5 and 88 share to ensure that the 88 team has all the help it needs to make a difference in 2010.  Alan Gustafson and Lance McGrew  are working together along with the rest of the crew members from both teams.  The vision is to have the 88 and the 5 a cohesive unit, much like the 24 and 48 are, one team running two cars.  Rick Hendrick is determined to see success in the 88 camp and is pulling out all the stops to do so.

As a Dale Earnhardt Jr fan, I truly hope it works.
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