Much has been made about Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s long losing streak, which dates back to the June 2008 race at Michigan International Speedway. A lot has sure happened since then and his No. 88 team bares little semblance to the roster that was present during Earnhardt's most recent win three years ago.
Earnhardt seems more poised and determined to right the No. 88 ship, working harder to bond with his crew while also appearing to have more fun at the track.
Not only does having a good fast car and pit crew matter during the races, but also enjoying yourself behind the wheel makes the job a lot easier every weekend.
Although Earnhardt didn't score the top-10 finish that his car was plenty capable of scoring during the Daytona 500, Saturday's race will spell redemption for NASCAR's most popular racer.
If he avoids trouble and keeps his nose clean with a good drafting partner, say Jimmie Johnson, we might just see car number 88 return back to Victory Lane.
And oh yea, if that happens, it won't just happen with the one scenario that most folks are mentioning, which would be Jimmie Johnson paying him back.
He will earn this victory with solid teamwork and great strategy, not just because of a favor.
Track Stats for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona: 2 wins, 8 top-fives, 13 top-10's, 1 pole, 395 laps led, 3 DNFs in 23 starts