Before I go into the blog this is not a Hate on Junior blog nor is it a love fest with Junior, As an individual that is not a fan of Junior by any means, I will admit that he is good for this sport right now.
Now to look at the question I posed.
Dale Junior had a great run at Daytona, at least for the last 2 laps of the third Green White Checkered. Now those who want to jump on me will ask why I pointed out that it was the last Green White Checkered, and I say I point it out because the other two he was no where to be found and if the Checkereds had flown before that last GWC then Junior would have finished around the mid to low teens. Maybe a 10th place finish. But fortunately for Junior it didn't, we went 3 GWC and Junior drove the heck out of his car to finish second.
But does that mean he is back? Well, if you heard his interview after the race, one may say he is, because Junior said he was bummed by not finishing first. Also, his voice showed some emotions so for Junior fans there was hope.
On the other hand if you looked at earlier interviews the reaction was mixed, at least to this race fan. Also, his defiance of Rick Hendrick and his clean cut image seems to be either a I don't care what the boss says or what is he going to do fire me attitude.
On the plus side - He was able to manuver his car at Daytona like we have seen in the past on restirctor plate tracks.
On the minus side - He was only able to do this when the sun went down and the track tightened up.
I know a lot of people want to say last year was a fluke, and maybe it was and hopefully it was if it is for the better ment of the sport. But until he can prove that he can stay in the top 15 for the next 5 to 8 races then the jury will remain out.
But we have to remember a bad race at California, if it happens, doesn't mean much either, So lets wait until we get to 'Dega to proclaim Junior is all the way back and a chase contender or that he is back to the way things were 2009. .
Not saying Junior fans shouldn't rally around what he did at Daytona, because they should, their fans, but those fans should understand the rest of us will have the wait and see attitude and will point out things good and not so good and not try to bash them.
Here's to Fans and detractors alike may all of us be able to converse both way without too much mud slinging.