The Eternal Brand 
Thursday, December 26, 2013, 10:43 PM
Posted by Administrator
On any given NASCAR weekend you'll see the crowds lining up in front of the No.88 souvenir trailer where fans can satisfy their cravings for everything and anything Earnhardt. The other trailers attract a few buyers here and there, never quite attaining fever pitch sales and the interest this family's name conjours up, even now.
The groundwork was laid when Sr. was at the apex of his career, winning almost everything in sight, setting the stage for his place in stock car history. He seemed the heir apparent to equal, if not surpass The King, whose reign was rapidly coming to an end. He was "The Intimidator", "The Man" and it appeared that his son, still standing in the wings, was going to continue in his footsteps when the elder Earnhardt decided he had had enough. His untimely death thrust Jr. into the spotlight and with it, the expectations that he too, would be equally successful.
Over time, it became clear that Earnhardt the Younger wasn't the driver his father was and for years he struggled to make a decent showing, trying to live up to the legacy of his father. It was frustrating for fans and more importantly devastating to a racing organization that wasn't used to seeing the Earnhardt name out of the top ten finishers.
Winning races is one thing but winning the hearts of the fan base is another. Even during those times when the Earnhardt clan was looking to move on, the fans stuck by Jr. through thick and thin and his winning of the 2013 Most Popular Driver by the NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) remains as a testament to the popularity and the reverance for a family that has traveled the highest mountains and the lowest valleys stock car racing has to offer.
Jr. has come to this place honestly by hard work and perseverence...and he did it on his own.

J.R. Andres/SMM Editor-in-Chief

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