Motorsports by nature is fast. A lot can happen in a short period of time.
Split-second decisions on the track can result in either victory or a bad wreck.
In the span of hours, drivers can be fired and hired and sponsors can move to another team.
How about in two years' time? That's an eternity.
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At least that's how it feels for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Tonight's Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Speedway marks the two-year anniversary since Earnhardt Jr. last visited Victory Lane in a Sprint Cup Series race.
His last Cup win came in a car with a different number, different sponsor and a red-clad army of fans that has since changed to shades of green and white.
"You always remember your first win and hope it's not your last. The last time I won was at Richmond. Seems like forever ago, but I try not to think about it," Earnhardt Jr. said.
"I don't want to be thinking of how long it's been since a win. Knowing we have a shot at it every week and something or another happens can make it frustrating. We couldn't be doing anything different to prepare -- the team and everyone at Hendrick has been working so hard. It will happen."
Perhaps the biggest difference for Earnhardt Jr. this season is that despite the lack of a win, there's confidence a victory is right around the corner.
"We're looking forward to getting that (first) win (with Hendrick). You think about it. You dream about it. You want that feeling," he said. "You want to be able to celebrate like that."
After his win May 6, 2006, at Richmond, Earnhardt Jr. still had a strong season driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., owned by his stepmother, Teresa. He finished second or third three more times and ended the year fifth in points, his second-best championship finish.
But last season was one of turmoil for the son of the late seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. He announced early in the season he was leaving DEI, then later in the year opted to move to Hendrick Motorsports.
Earnhardt Jr. struggled through the year, failing to finish nine races because of accidents or engine problems and missing the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the second time in his career. He finished 16th in points, second-worst in his career.
His move to Hendrick paid off quickly, as Earnhardt Jr. won the Budweiser Shootout and one of the Gatorade Duel qualifying races at Daytona. Both are non-points events.
He is third in the standings and has already had several opportunities at victories this season.
"I guess if this losing streak or whatever you want to call it -- if while that was going on I was suddenly finding myself trickling down the list of good race cars and good owners and finding myself in equipment that I felt was not on par with what wins races, I would be worried, and the pressure would be a lot," Earnhardt Jr. said.
"I feel like the fans want to win. They're ready for a win. They're pretty happy that we're running well and we're up front and stuff.
"They have to keep reminding themselves to be patient for that win to come, because they've wanted the opportunity for their driver to be running well each week, and they have that now."
"You just have to wait. When it happens, it will happen. There's really not much you can do other than just be as prepared as possible each weekend." At Richmond | TODAY, 7:30 P.M., FOX (CH. 18)