Despite Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s well-publicised lament Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the car owner who won six Sprint Cup championships with the late Dale Earnhardt is confident Junior will someday have a championship of his own.

"Junior can still drive a racecar, he can compete, he can win, and he will win a championship someday," Richard Childress said before Saturday's NASCAR Banking 500. "It's just a matter of going through a few of these peaks and valleys.

"I spoke to him a couple of times trying to give him encouragement -- because we've been there."

Earnhardt admitted Friday he was searching for answers and "about to the end of my rope" with the inconsistency of his team's performance and his inability to contend for victories this season.

Childress, however, doesn't believe Earnhardt already has seen his best days and he doesn't believe NASCAR's new racecar, introduced in 2007 after Earnhardt had posted 17 of his 18 Cup wins, will prove a permanent impediment to the driver's success.

"He's got a lot more he can do and a lot more he will accomplish," Childress said. "I see so many bright spots. I watch these guys, and I see the bright spots when he's on the racetrack, when he's racing, when he's driving.

"These cars are different than the other cars, but I really believe that, once he gets that combination and gets that feel, he's as good as anybody when it comes down to winning with these cars."

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


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