ANCEL Bidirectional Automotive Scanner

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins Most Popular Driver Award & Talks about his Future

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the NMPA Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver Award for the 8th consecutive year. He accepted the award on Thursday in Las Vegas at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2010 Awards Luncheon.

Earnhardt Jr. began by saying that receiving the award was “a great honor” but first he wanted to congratulate his teammate Jimmie Johnson. He joked about forgetting to congratulate him last year adding that Rick Hendrick had already sent him a text message to remind him to do so.

[media-credit name=”Dale Earnhardt Jr. accepts his eighth consecutive Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver Award during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony on Thursday. Photo by CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]He went on to congratulate General Mills, NMPA, his sponsors and his team but his most heartfelt thanks went to his fans.

“They really make everything about this sport, about this very moment here, possible for all of us,” said Earnhardt.

After the luncheon, Earnhardt Jr. spoke with the media about the 2011 season with new crew chief Steve Letarte.

He described learning about the crew chief change saying, “It’s like knowing what you’re getting for Christmas, but not being able to mess with it until that morning.”

But he also acknowledged that the real change will begin with the driver himself.

“The only person that can truly help me get where I need to go, obviously, starts with me, Earnhardt Jr. said. “Then it goes to Rick (Hendrick), Steve and those guys that are your inner circle every week and that are in your corner every week.

“My biggest problem, I think, is my confidence. I know what I’ve done in the past. I know that I’ve out run and beat these guys that I compete with each week before and I just have to remember that the potential is there.”

Earnhardt Jr. also believes “there’s a swagger that you have to have,” and the only way he will be able to get that back is to put together some tops five runs.

“To convince myself to get back to where I need to be confidence wise, I need to see it happen on the track. I can’t just talk myself into going to the track thinking the way I need to think. I’m going to go there and mash the gas and it needs to happen. When it happens, then I’ll go, ‘Yeah, this is what it’s supposed to be like’ and then you kind of get the swagger back and the confidence comes back and everything is rock solid. You win battles, little battles throughout the day with that confidence that you normally don’t win whether it’s with yourself or your competition out on the race track. There are thousands of battles happen throughout the race.”

Many believe Earnhardt Jr.’s problems on the racetrack began with the introduction of the COT and he admits that it “has been challenging.”

“But I think the potential for the car to get the grip and get the feel of the race track that I need is there because I’ve had it before. We just missed it. The cars are just not into the track to get the speed and get the grip that I feel like I need to get. We haven’t been able to find what that combination is, whether it’s a package in the springs or the sway bars, which it probably isn’t. We’re missing something for the car and the feel that I need to feel. It could be anything related to the car even before it comes into the crew chief’s hands, we just have to see.”

Although the last few years have been difficult for Dale Jr., he’s not looking for your pity. Instead, he is looking ahead to the future and the opportunity to prove himself.

“I don’t think I should win any sympathy votes. We need to perform. We need to be hard on ourselves to how poorly we ran at times last year. We need to force ourselves and push ourselves to improve and that’s what we try to do every offseason. Physically and mentally it can be kind of tough on you but you just kind of rebound and renew yourself in the offseason and renew your faith in your abilities.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Angie Campbell
Angie Campbell
A native of Charlotte, NC, Angela (Angie) was first introduced to racing by her father. An avid fan of NASCAR, she found a way to combine her love of racing with her passion for writing. Angie is also an award-winning member of the National Motorsports Press Association. Follow her on Twitter @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos and Leaf Racewear Safety Equipment Giveaway

Rocketplay Casino

Winspirit Australia

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles