By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked like one of the cars to beat early on in the 2010 Daytona 500. He would lead four laps during the early running of the race, and would hang inside the top-five to top-ten for most of the first half of the race.
Then something happened that has plagued Junior for the past year. They lost the handle on the car, and he was mired back in traffic.
However in an exciting finish, that took two green-white-checkered finishes, Earnhardt shook off the demons of his disastrous 2009 season. He restarted 10th with two laps to go. Along the way Earnhardt made all the right moves, and looked like a man possessed on his way to a second place finish in the Great American Race.
Earnhardt had fans on their feet, and I’m sure NASCAR executives were on their feet as well.
NASCAR was looking pretty bad during its “Super Bowl” event. They had to stop the race twice due to a deteriorating track surface, and it appeared the race would go down in history as a failure… that is until Dale Earnhardt Jr. saved the day. His exciting finish to this race wiped everyone’s memory clear of the “pot-hole fiasco”.
Now the question is, is Dale Earnhardt Jr. back?
Only time will tell for sure, but I believe this will be a breakout year for Dale Earnhardt Jr. One thing is for sure… His swagger is back, his confidence has to be riding high, and a few more finishes like this and maybe he will wipe our memories clear of his horrific 2009 campaign as well.