Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted his third win of the year and now has won both Pocono races in 2014. It really has been an amazing year for that team, especially when you consider the last time Dale Jr. had a multiple-win season was literally a decade ago in 2004. Now everyone in Junior Nation and NASCAR fans in general are asking, "Is this finally the year he wins the championship?"
My answer isn’t an easy one. Can he win it all in 2014? Yes — but no — but absolutely. Trust me, I really want to say, "Oh, hell yes, he’s going to win it all." I really do. He’s confident. His energy and enthusiasm we are seeing in 2014 are something that we haven’t seen in a long, long, long time.
When you combine the organization he races for, with the talent he has plus the confidence and fun he’s having, well, that is a really dangerous combination that the other 42 cars and particular the other 15 cars in the Chase are facing. Dale Jr. is embracing where they are right now and handling it really well. The really cool thing to me is they have shown this consistent attitude all season long. Trust me, from first-hand experience through long, grueling seasons, I can tell you it is really hard to do.
So yes, I really love his chances and am excited to see him racing for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship this year. My only hesitation is we’ve seen drivers and teams come into the Chase red hot and then be non-existent in the Chase. We’ve seen drivers limp into the Chase — sorry, Tony pun is intended — like we did in 2011, and come out of nowhere to win it all.