Blog Entry

Are NASCAR fans getting tired of Junior Nation?

Posted on: May 5, 2008 11:56 am

This is not to bash the Junior Nation but after the outcry this weekend and another beer chunking incident at Richmond because of a racing accident I'm wondering if the rest of the NASCAR fans are getting tired of the so called Junior Nation?  I ask this because there is a pole on Foxsports asking who was at fault for the wreck Saturday Night, the picks are Junior, Bush, or neither.  Surprisingly, out of 319,580 votes as of this writing 87 percent have said the wreck was Juniors fault.  Me I voted neither it was a racing accident.

But seeing that vote reminded me of how another driver gained his fame and popularity in this great Sport.  In the late 70's a brash young driver was emerging as an outstanding driver.  He was bold, brash and everytime he got in front of a camera he let it be known that he was going to whip the competition.  He even told COO COO Marlin once that Bristol was his track and not COO COO's even though Marlin was from that area of Tennessee.  Of course I'm talking about Darrell Waltrip, but his rise isn't the story, in 1979 the old Alabama Gang was worried that DW would finally win a championship, so they made a pack that they would do what they had to to keep that from happening and a young unknown by the name of Dale Earnhardt won his very first championship.  Now Dale was popular because he was from North Carolina and also because he wouldn't back down to DW and his talk, nor his pushing on the track.  Well for a few years after 79 Dale was not heard of again but then he teamed with Richard Childress and well you know the rest of his success.  DW on the other hand teamed with Junior Johnson and started to win races and dominate the circuit and was so bold that he brought T-shirts to the races to sell to his fans so everyone else could see how popular he was.  It became such a big deal in the stands that if you didn't have a DW T-shirt on they you were rooting against him.  It didn't matter who won the race to these fans as long as it wasn't DW.  After Dale Teamed up with Richard Childress the fans soon learned that Dale was ready to fight fire with fire and he would bump and bang his way to a win too.  So a lot of those fans who rooted against DW naturally starting rooting for Dale and wearing his gear.  Thus, the popularity of Dale Earnhardt, not because he was considered a great driver when he started out, but because he was a driver that didn't back down to DW and his threats.

Now the question of this blog, are the rest of the NASCAR nation getting so tired of the "NATION"  that they are going to start backing anyone that is willing to stand up to the NATION and keep their driver out of victory lane?  Could the Dale Junior fans unwittingly be pushing a driver like Kyle Bush to the forefront of NASCAR popularity?  I know there are a lot of people who dont' like Kyle, in fact Kyle has very few fans, but he is starting to gain attention and if he is willing to battle Junior for the win and he is not afraid to race him hard and if they both lose then so be it. I think you may see him become a favorite of those who don't like Junior because of the NATION.

Think about it.  History does have a way of repeating itself.


Since: Jan 4, 2008
Posted on: May 5, 2008 4:05 pm

Are NASCAR fans getting tired of Junior Nation?

I think that JR. is only popular for his last name. Hes not that good of a driver and he likes to whine alot. Personally I think people root for him for two reasons.... 1. He's little E  2. He reminds some of the good ole boys.... back before pretty boys like Gordon or Jimmy Johnson came along. But in my opinion he probably will never win a championship and he's a spoiled little brat....

Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2008 2:02 pm

Are NASCAR fans getting tired of Junior Nation?

I have to admit to being conflicted as it comes to Junior. Little E has come across to me as a classy guy and a worthy third generation driver. Just like his father tried to step out of the shadow of his father to make a name for himself in racing, so does Junior. The problem he faces is his fans are his fathers fans. His dad may be a legend, but he was also famous for doing whatever it took to win, even if it means putting someone in the wall. I can think of two different occasions that he put Terry Labonte into the wall and ended up winning those races. D.W. was just man enough to be the guy that said to Dale, "You want it rough...fine. Eat the wall, chump." While the old man used to get away with murder on the track, Junior is smooth and races more like a gentleman. Junior Nation is not Junior's fault. His dad attracted the beer drinking hellions as his own back in the day and they will be faithful to #3 by supporting his kid, much to the shagrin of the son to be sure.

Since: Mar 7, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2008 1:22 pm

Are NASCAR fans getting tired of Junior Nation?

Jr. is not my favorite driver, but I'll take him to win it over Ky Busch any day. Of course I was disappointed when he spun out. But I can honestly say I'm sick of any sports team that thinks its ok to put "nation" after their name. Esp. Boston teams. Or the Raiders.

Since: Jun 22, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2008 1:13 pm

Are NASCAR fans getting tired of Junior Nation?

You have point but I don't think history will repeat it self over one aggressive move or accident whatever you want to call it. Kyle has been on the rise because he wins races and starts controversy plan and simple. Reminds me Tony Stewart. Of course people are going to hate Junior Nation why because were one of the largest if not the largest community of fans in NASCAR. Its just like the Cowboys when it come to the NFL.

Since: Jun 27, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2008 12:31 pm

Are NASCAR fans getting tired of Junior Nation?

Very interesting commentary, mikeyfan, and I think you're making a valid point.  Personally, I think it is kind of a bummer for Jr. to have a percentage of his fan base be so obnoxious.  I don't have anything against Jr, but I don't cheer for him either.  Really, he's a good driver and seems to be a pretty likeable guy, and it seems that he'd be a natural to cheer for.....but I can't stand the way his fans act.  No, I don't mean all of them, because obviously there are Jr. fans out there that are good folks.  But the reality is that when a driver has such a high number of fans, even a small percentage acting like prats is very, very noticeable...and a large percentage acting like prats is nearly intolerable.

What I see as being the worst outcome of all the can-throwing, seat-cushion-throwing, tantrum-throwing behavior from Jr. fans is that it just supports the "NASCAR-fans-are-ignorant-redn
cks" stereotype.   I say, if any fan wants to act in that manner, move to Europe and become a soccer fan.


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