Earnhardt Jr. scores one for the good guys

Monday, Jun. 18, 2012

  I've never been around an athlete as unaffected by his fame as Dale Earnhardt Jr. He is so humble that if he played in the NFL he'd have to play on the offensive line.

    I talked to him before May’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He talked about being a nice guy. He talked about treating people well. And when I asked him about his legacy, he said that being known for respecting others, and not making a big deal out of who he is, would not be a bad one.

    Athletes are supposed to talk about winning and competing and here was Earnhardt, who is contending for his first championship, talking about being a good guy.

     And it was real. It wasn't media relations or an act to accommodate sponsors. It's who he is.

     He can drive a little, too. He established that Sunday when he dominated the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway and won his first race in four years.

     Earnhardt is second in points this season and first in fans. The post-race festivities felt like a coronation. He won this one for everybody – family, team and fans.  

     I love it when the good guys win.

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