NASCAR's most popular driver finally broke through today as Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Junior led the most laps (I think) continuing his impressive run this season of top 10 finishes and also being the only driver to complete every lap of every race.
Dale Jr. has taken a lot of heat from arm chair pundits for his long winless streak. I've got a friend at work who regularly bashes Junior, believing that Dale Jr. is simply a name with no talent to back it up. I think that's an unfair characterization as Junior has struggled with the legacy of his father hanging over him as well as his step-mother stabbing him in the back and taking away the company that Dale Sr. created for his son and daughter.
Finally, under the Hendrick umbrella and with Steve Letarte's even handed approach on the pit box, we're once again seeing the ability of the charismatic driver.
This win may just be the break in the dam that lets Junior make his run towards a championship. Other than my boy Tony Stewart (who finished 2nd today) there's no one I'd rather see hoist the Sprint Cup trophy at the end of the season.
Also glad to see that Denny Hamlin is okay after one of those movie-styled fireballs as his car exploded into flames after a spin: