The Frontstretch: Earnhardt, Jr. Driving Like Daddy by Dennis Michelsen -- Monday May 8, 2006

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Earnhardt, Jr. Driving Like Daddy

Nextel Cup Making the Grade: Richmond · Dennis Michelsen · Monday May 8, 2006


Pace Laps
Prilosec colors for a rookie’s car at a short track seems so fitting to me!

100th Cup race at Richmond"¦a high percentage of those are classics!

Did Chris Myers go to the "Kenny Mayne School of Stupid Hosting Comments?" Please ESPN keep that Kenny far away from NASCAR coverage next year"¦PLEASE!

Why is it so tough to get back for a restart on time? Unfortunately, this is not exclusive to racing since my Cubs broadcasts often do this"¦but usually you don’t miss anything but an opponent’s run in a Cubs game!

Race Grade: B+
Since I do grade on a curve this one only gets a "B+" this week. I expect even better racing on NASCAR’s most perfect track! This one had plenty of entertaining moments, but I want to see a little more passing for the lead, and perhaps a little more bumping and banging too!

F for Kurt Busch
In all the years of “Making the Grade” this is the first time ANYONE has won back-to-back “F” grades! This week Kurt gets the failing grade for poor pit road driving. When you are pitting on green for a flat, it is usually a good idea not to speed!

D for Crew Chief Todd Berrier
There is an old adage in sports that is just as true in racing as the stick and ball sports"¦never beat yourself! This week Kevin Harvick’s Goodwrench Chevy was the best car by far. Not pitting for fresh rubber cost Harvick a shot at the win.

C for Dale Jarrett
For a guy in so much demand with Toyota, DJ has been turning in very average results this year. In the Chase for the Championship format "Average" is not a bad level to reach though so Jarrett is still in contention. Another midpack finish does make me wonder whether it is team or driver that is unable to contend for Top 10s every week.

B for Denny Hamlin
Hamlin made his first rookie mistake in a race last week"¦but this was during a “Heat Race” around the hauler after practice at Lowe’s Motor Speedway when he cut his hand. Despite driving in pain, Hamlin not only raced but finished both races this week, and he came close to winning his first Nextel Cup points race. (He also won his
“Heat Race” off the track, too!)

A for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
How about that for some of that Earnhardt tenacity that made his Daddy famous? Dale Earnhardt Junior turned in an impressive performance this week that made me think back to when the "Intimidator" used that same tenacity to win seven championships! Could this be the year that Junior adds that elusive title? We have seen that classic Earnhardt tenacity at Martinsville and Richmond this year that would make his Daddy proud!

Extra Credit for Sterling Marlin
This has been a tough season for Marlin, but he showed a lot of grit and determination holding on for his first Top 10 of the season. This could be the first of many for this team that continues to slowly improve.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 ‘Sold’ Off
Tech Talk with Tony Gibson: Taking Stock Of Danica Patrick In Year Two
Vexing Vito: Three Drivers In Need of a Role Reversal
Going By the Numbers: Top-10 NASCAR Variety Hard To Come By In…
Truckin’ Thursdays: Lessons Learned Just Two Races In
Fantasy Insider: Team Revelations For NASCAR’s Short Tracks



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05/09/2006 05:57 AM

I am really curious why everyone thinks that Junior is anything like his dad. His dad was a great driver that deserves to be remembered and honored by all NASCAR fans. Junior, on the other hand is compared to his dad day in and day out, he is not his dad. He is a good driver, yet not as good as his dad. Because he won one race in 27 doesn’t mean that he is even close to his father. What will happen if he doesn’t do well next week, do we cough it up to bad luck and call this week a fluke or are we going to just let junior be junior and remember that he can only race as himself?


05/09/2006 09:53 AM

The guy can drive a race car. They are re-building that team. I hate when people compare the performance of fathers and sons. But in this case he does have a lot of tenacity from his dad.

05/09/2006 10:31 AM

He is not his Dad. Senior would have punted Harvick out of his way, while Jr backed off. Same results – a victory, but very different driving methods.

05/09/2006 11:06 AM

I wonder why it is that the media just as soon as Jr wins one jumps on his bandwagon? Where were they all year, was there talk of contention then? I find it really in poor form that the media has to dig up the comparisons to Sr. when Jr. wins, like it wasn’t possible for him to get the win as his own man. And he is own racer, his own style, he didn’t put the chrome horn to Harvick, when his dad would have, and he even apologized for getting into him publicly…something rarely admitted by Sr.

05/10/2006 01:05 AM

Everyone is always quick to jump on the just like his daddy deal. I cant agree with that. I see his style more in the Petty-Pearson vein. When he is driving a junk car you rarely can tell. He drives his ass off but its smooth he brings it to him. His pop would tell the damn car it was going to do what he wanted and it looked like it. If the car needed a different line he wasnt going to wait for that line to open up..he was going to make it open. And anyone racing with him at that point knew if you had anything to say about it after the fact. You best have made sure you pulled away after you made issue of it cause if he didnt dump you before you can bet you were not going to be that lucky the next time. That is where the legend comes from. You rubbed him wrong he was going to let you know whether it meant his car was getting towed to the garage or not.

05/10/2006 07:19 AM

I think the statement Just like his dad is ment to be a comparison of the way both didnt give up Jr is just as persistant as Sr was.


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