2002 Season

The Look of a Champion
By: Maverick

(January 27, 2002)
            The look is the same.  Cold, fearless eyes filled with the desire to win and the forthcoming daringness of a champion; a winner.  Stable and steady, every move being carefully calculated, every decision having reason and purpose.   Nothing is done until he thinks good of it.   Winning runs in the blood.  It pumps through the veins and into the heart where it is nourished with adrenaline and tenacity.  This is the make of a champion, and yes, the look is the same.

            The look is still the same.  The glasses are different, and instead of a mustache, a goatee covers the face of an old-but-young competitor.  Old in ways and in experience, which were passed down, but young in career.  This man walks with the same objective and purpose as his predecessor.   He’s one who carries the torch, who leads the field, and one who is learning how to be the one with all the answers.  He’s following in the footsteps of a man who, all others have tried to follow in.  He’s doing it the best, though, for the look is the same.

            The name is the same.  Earnhardt.  Earnhardt.  Earnhardt.  You can hear it screamed by throngs of fans, or whispered in the sounds of the motors at every race track as every car passes around the track.  Earnhardt.  The drivers know as well as the fans.  We have lost Dale Sr., but arising out of his 10 ft shadow is a man who will assume the lead and repair the cracks to NASCAR’s foundation.  Earnhardt.  Dale Jr. is rising to the occasion and is showing the world what he can do.  During the time after his father’s death, he handled it much the same way as his father handled the death of Neil Bonnet.  He raced.  Racing.  Earnhardt.  The words are fully associative with each other.  And they will continue to be, for the name is the same.

            Dale Jr. is trying to be his own person.  He is not trying to be anyone else.  He is Dale Earnhardt Jr., but you can’t hide what is natural.  The glimmer in the eyes, the Earnhardt grin, and most of all, an Earnhardt driven car in Victory Lane.  He gives nothing and asks for nothing.  You have to earn anything you get from him.  The game is the same.  If you want to pass him, you have to “EARN-“ it.  He’s battled with the best and beat the best.  He is his father’s son, the next generation, our next champion. 

            In this coming NASCAR season, the foremost thing that will be on everyone’s mind is the death of Dale Earnhardt.  But through the smoke and through the clouds of the foggy haze that surrounds the topic, one man will burst through with burning rubber and screeching tires.  His red and white rocket will soar into Victory Lane on numerous occasions, beating all challengers and making a lot of noise.  Crowd noise, that is.  Whenever the name Earnhardt is mentioned, the crowd erupts for they are loyal to their driver and to his namesake.  Dale Jr. will win races.  He will win championships.  He will put up with questions about his father’s death, but not by answering them.  He’ll silence questions by making noise.  A lot of noise.



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