April 30, 2012
By Matthew Pizzolato
There are a lot of drivers in the NASCAR garage and sometimes one has to wonder who the best is.
Some have won more races than others, some have more championships to their credit, and some come from great racing families, but all are talented racecar drivers or else they wouldn't be competing in NASCAR.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., is no stranger to controversy since he's become the face of NASCAR. Junior Nation loves him and thinks he can do no wrong. However, he does have more than a few critics.
His detractors claim that he isn't that good of a driver and is only popular because of his father. Yet, Earnhardt has proven that he's capable of winning races at NASCAR's highest level, so why don't some consider him a great driver?
At a press conference last weekend at Kansas, Dale Earnhardt Jr., was asked if he thought Jimmie Johnson was a better driver than he was. His reply has started quite a bit of controversy.
"No, he’s a hell of a race car driver, but I feel like I’m the best. I think that’s the way you have to feel," Earnhardt was quoted as saying. "I feel that I’m smarter than everybody and I can drive better than everybody and I know a lot of people ain’t going to agree with that, but I feel pretty strong about it."
Earnhardt was asked a question and he gave his opinion, so why the controversy? One of the things he's been criticized for in the past is what has been seemingly a lack of confidence. Now that he's showing some self confidence, he's being gossiped about?
Earnhardt was referring to having confidence about life in general and not about having an over inflated ego. There may be other drivers in the garage with that problem, but Earnhardt has never appeared to have been one of them.
This past Friday during a press conference at Richmond, Earnhardt explained the reason for his opinion.
"I learned a long time ago that if you don’t have confidence in your car that can be problematic for you. If you don’t have confidence in your crew chief then that can be problematic for you and if you don’t have the same confidence in yourself it’s not conducive to being successful," Earnhardt said. "You have to feel like you’re here and you’re the best and that is the way you should feel. In any profession, you have to have that kind of confidence."
However, he knew his answer would start a discussion.
"I figured that was definitely debatable and the race fans are going to voice their opinion and that’s good. I certainly don’t like to rock any boats, but you have to answer the question honestly."
On the other hand, if he had said that Jimmie Johnson or anyone else for that matter was better than him, he would have been criticized for that. People would have said that he doesn't have any confidence.
Earnhardt was asked a question and gave his opinion, something that he's certainly entitled to just as each and every race fan is entitled to theirs. Still, one is left wondering who the best driver in NASCAR is.
There are quite a few talented drivers to choose from, yet if anyone still has trouble picking one, just ask Dale Earnhardt Jr.
If you would like to learn more about Matthew, please check out his web site at matthew-pizzolato.com.
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.