ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Keeping Pace

Earnhardt hits the skids

The only thing NASCAR’s most popular driver – winless in 38 races – is certain of is that he’s not strong enough to withstand another year like this one


Jenna Fryer/Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t know when he’ll end his winless streak, or how long it will take to turn around his horrendous season.

The only thing NASCAR’s most popular driver – winless in 38 races – is certain of is that he’s not strong enough to withstand another year like this one.

Earnhardt heads into tonight’s race at Daytona International Speedway ranked 19th in the standings and still adjusting to a crew chief change six weeks ago that brought an emotional end to his long working relationship with cousin Tony Eury Jr.

As his struggles snowballed through April and May, it affected everyone in the tight-knit Earnhardt and Eury families.

“I can’t have another year like this. I can’t mentally. I can’t physically. I don’t want to put the people around me through this,” Earnhardt said in a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press.

“When we were really, really struggling, everybody in the family was upset. Crying and carrying on. All the women were crying, the men we’re cussing. I’m serious. This is our family, Eurys and Earnhardts, racing is our life and it wears on all of them. We can’t put anybody through this (stuff) again. We’ve got to get this right.”

Stoic through the aftermath of his father’s fatal accident in the 2001 Daytona 500, and steady as his popularity pushed him into rock star status, Earnhardt rarely gives a glimpse of any inner turmoil.

So when cracks in his armor began to show in late April, it slowly became clear to team owner Rick Hendrick he’d have to make the split that Earnhardt and Eury were too emotionally invested to recognize how badly it was needed.

Hendrick pulled the trigger following a 40th-place finish at Charlotte, replacing Eury with interim crew chief Lance McGrew and assigning additional personnel to Earnhardt’s No. 88 team.


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Keeping Pace

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Keeping Pace.

Contributors

Doug Pace

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here