February 22, 2013
Great expectations for Earnhardt
By DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

Dale Earnhardt Jr., hangs out in his team's garage at Daytona during a practice session for Sunday's 500. (Reuters)

 It’s been a long time between swigs of champagne at NASCAR’s biggest race for the sport’s biggest star.

 

In fact, the last time Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrated a win in the Daytona 500 was 2004 — nine long seasons ago — when he was still driving for the family firm in the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Chevrolet.

But the smart betting is that on Sunday — in the 55th running of the Great American Race — Earnhardt could well be in the winner’s circle at the end of the afternoon in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet.

The 38-year-old son of NASCAR’s most treasured racer comes into the 2013 season rejuvenated after ending a crushingly long three-year winless skid last season with a victory at Michigan International Speedway.

Earnhardt appears to have his mojo back and is clicking with crew chief Steve Latarte.



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