As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff battle heats up heading to the Talladega Superspeedway, one big storyline could really steal the headlines on Sunday. What if Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes his No. 88 Chevrolet to victory lane in Sunday’s Alabama 500 (2 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN)?
Can I dream a minute here?
I don’t root for drivers, I root for the best story. Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, in his final Talladega start, would be the biggest story of the year. I know this won’t happen, but if Earnhardt wins this weekend’s race, I would vote he just never step foot in a Cup car again. It would be that big.
This has been a dismal season for the third generation driver. First off, no one saw his concussion like symptoms happening last year, the one that forced him to miss the final half of the 2016 season. Then, he came out in 2017 and slumped. Then, he announced this would be his last full-time season.
In this final season, he has just one top five finish all year, a fifth place run at Texas back in April. There hasn’t been much for Junior Nation to cheer about this year. So, to win based off of all those facts would be big enough.
But, also consider this, his dad, Dale Earnhardt Sr., saw his last win come at Talladega too. Yes, Earnhardt Sr., 76th and final trip to victory lane would come at Talladega. It was also this very same Fall Talladega race to in October 2000.
October 15, 2000.
The date Sunday?
October 15, 2017.
This would rank up there with Earnhardt Jr’s victory in the 2001 Pepsi 400. The chances of Earnhardt Jr. winning a race the rest of the season aren’t high since he’s struggled on those tracks earlier this year. But, Talladega is where he could realistically win at and what a perfect place for his final victory.