Kasey Kahne: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Will Win Again

Nathan BitnerSenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2010

DOVER, DE - MAY 16:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Budweiser Ford, race side by side during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 16, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

An interesting nugget came out of Tuesday's media teleconference with Kasey Kahne.

Kahne believes that Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s disappointing performance is more about confidence and momentum than anything else and when he logs his next win, it may very well set off a streak of trips to Victory Lane.

"Confidence is huge. If Dale, Jr. could win a race, he would definitely have more confidence," Kahne suggested.

"If [he wins] a race, you kind of get that feeling back on how your car felt and how it's supposed to feel ... [you get] on a roll, get that feeling, ... know exactly what you need. Once [he] gets it, they're super hard to beat on Sunday."

Keep in mind, Jr. has not won a race since 2008 and that was a "fuel-mileage" win at Michigan International Speedway.

You have to go back to the Spring race at Richmond in 2006 for a "standard" victory, his only of that season. Earnhardt, Jr. also recorded a one-win season in 2005, taking the Chicagoland race.

So his wins have not come in clusters in recent years. In 2009-10, Jr. has rarely been competitive or challenged for many top-fives, much less any trophies.

Granted, it's likely that the two will be teammates in two years, so that might help explain Kasey's belief in Jr.'s potential success.

So, while many of us struggle to see how Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will climb out of the funk that he's currently in, Kahne at least sees a cluster of wins on the horizon, once the confidence and momentum returns.

What's your take? Is Jr. past his prime or is a cluster of wins just around the corner?

Given that he's still at No. 1 in merchandise sales, would Hendrick let him go if his performance continues to be closer to 15th or 20th, rather than Chase-worthy? How long can he ride his pre-2005 success?

Let the opinions fly—whether you're part of Jr. Nation or staunchly against him.