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Dale Jr. -- Take 15. Is this thing working?

Crew chief Lance McGrew: How fast can he work miracles? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern

   BROOKLYN, Mich.
   So, is Dale Earnhardt Jr. really getting his act together, or just barely treading water?
   He won last summer's Michigan 400, on gas mileage, turning a 24th place car into a winner – his first NASCAR tour win since May 2006.
   Now that's a long, long dry spell. Particularly for the man considered the sport's most popular driver.
   Can new crew chief Lance McGrew make things happen again for Earnhardt?
   Dover was good for the two; Pocono wasn't.
   Earnhardt, who starts a distant 30th Sunday, is trying to remain upbeat: "The communication with the team is good. Lance is doing a great job. All of the other guys on the road crew have stepped up…and what that means to me is when I come in here and I can see the different disposition on everyone's faces I'm more positive about what kind of lap time I'm going to get ready to run in the car.
    "Lance and I have been talking during the week about everything that comes to mind, and having discussions to understand where each of us is at, what our opinions and attitudes are.
   "It just feels like this should be turning around and should begin to work…and I feel confidence.
    "It gives me confidence.
    "I know in this sport you can be great one day and not so great the next. We ran really, really bad (at Pocono), and it was very frustrating during the race last week. But even though I didn't know at the time what had went wrong with the car, even at the end of the race I said I still see a lot of positive things happening with the team and feel good about Lance.
   "I feel good we're leaning on our teammates a lot. And if they can run fast with this 'such and such' setup, I should be able to make it work. And I need to learn how to drive it if it feels different.
   "So I'm really open-minded and trying to adjust whatever I need to adjust to.
    "And it will work or it won't work. But giving it your best effort is the best way to go.
   "People say often-times the best things to do are always the hardest thing to do.
    "We're just putting our foot down and trying to work hard.
    "The guys have a better attitude. The team was really beat down over the last several months, and that's gotten better.
     "That affects me, and affects everybody.
     "We just really want to see some results in the next couple of weeks, to give us affirmation. We need to move forward and keep improving. I think we will.
    "We ran way better than I thought we would at Dover.
     "The car was good in practice at Pocono, and we felt we were going to be all right. It felt pretty good the first couple of laps, but we had an issue.
    "We'll just see how it goes. I feel pretty good about it."
   Certainly team owner Rick Hendrick has his entire operation on a full-court press to get Earnhardt back winning again.
    "Rick has gone far beyond what I anticipated, in trying to get us assistance and trying to help me," Earnhardt says.
    "More so, I'm surprised by how much the crew chiefs and drivers are trying to help us.
    "Everybody is really trying to help, and it feels great.
     "That has to give you confidence….because I see that they want it to work just like I do."
    But just how long will it take?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Im not a big Little E fan,

Im not a big Little E fan, but I think in this instance you have to have patience with the change. They need to crawl before they can walk and need some consistent top 10 runs. When that starts to happen, they can set their sites on some top 5's and ultimaltely victories will follow.

I'm a big Sr fan and of

I'm a big Sr fan and of course moved to Jr went Sr died (nascar's Buddy Holly moment). He certainly isn't his father but who is? I look for this year to be a momentum building year. If he and the team can get the car figured out etc I think they'll be in good shape for 2010 which for me is the defining year, put up or shutup you know.

My fear is he will become a Kyle Petty on the race track,....just there.

I am sick to death of Jr.

I am sick to death of Jr.

Well, then, just wait till

Well, then, just wait till Danica Patrick shows up next season....the 'new' most popular driver in NASCAR

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