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Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Will He Use Daytona 500 as Springboard to Career Year?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. needs a big year. For fans and critics alike, the time is drawing shorter for the son of a legend to make his own mark on NASCAR in an area other than being the most popular driver on the circuit.Despite being the most popular driver, Dale Jr. certainly has his critics. Even though he won the Daytona 500 in 2004, he hasn't won a championship. The closest he came was a third place finish in 2003.He hasn't won a race since 2008 and that win had more to do with playing the fuel mileage strategy than having a dominant car with an aggressive driver.Fans aren't thwarted, though. His development at Hendrick has been somewhat slow and methodical, but it's starting to pay dividends. Actually, let's come back to that in a minute.Hi...

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