Beyond the News with Katy Lindamood:
Dale Jr. fans, you are in a class by yourself when it comes to supporting your driver. You let everyone know which driver you will be cheering for once the green flag drops. You don’t care how long it’s been since he won his last race or how many times the pit crew had a mishap on pit road. You don’t even care if he is on the lead lap. As long as your driver is out there on the track you are on your feet cheering for him.
I might not be a Jr. fan but I do respect his fans for never giving up on him. Sure, you might get annoyed when he finishes near the middle or rear of the field, but you still claim he is the greatest driver on the track and will defend his merit to any haters you encounter. Dale Jr. has a bad day and his fans say things like “well at least he’s out there on the track gaining a few points” or “he’s having a better race than that one last week.” Or my favorite of all, “at least he didn’t finish dead last”
What about the rest of us?
Most NASCAR fans lose interest in the race once their favorite driver’s chances of winning are gone. Those of us watching from home wander to the refrigerator, but those Earnhardt Jr. fans are sitting there cheering until the very last lap is in the books. Then you have those fans at the track. You know the ones. They show up at the race track decked from head to toe in Jr. gear. They’ve got the backpacks, the coolers, the hats, the t-shirts, and even shoes with the #88 emblazoned on them. It makes me wonder if everyone claiming to be a Dale Jr fan is actually a Dale Jr. fan or if they are afraid to step out and declare another driver as their favorite. There has to be some of that going in. I mean no everyone is a fan of the most popular driver, right? So, where are they hiding?
Where’s that fan wearing his Juan Pablo Montoya hat proudly or his Matt Kenseth t-shirt? Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears have to have fans other than those who drink Crown Royal and Jack Daniels right? Have you seen the couple wearing the matching David Ragan shirts or the kids wearing Clint Bowyer Cheerio’s t-shirts? Where are those girls screaming for drivers like AJ Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, and Martin Truex Jr. because they are cute? I haven’t seen them either. Surely they all aren’t Dale Jr. fans.
I challenge each of you to start supporting your drivers. Stick with them when they are having a bad day. Wait until the commercial break to grab another beer. Wear their gear to the track even when no one else is. Cheer louder than the fans sitting next to you and show your driver some support. Represent your driver the way Dale Jr’s fans represent him. It will be okay. I’m not saying you have to become a walking billboard for your driver, but show them some love when you are at the track. Please, the endless sea of green is making my eyes hurt!
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not this website.
Katy Lindamood is a freelance writer, blogger, and self-proclaimed NASCAR addict. Katy co-authors The Biff Files, a NASCAR blog, with her best friend. Beyond the News is an opinion based column devoted to the fan experience. Katy welcomes suggestions for future columns and can be contacted via twitter.