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Earnhardt Jr. understands, isn't beholden to, legacy

Updated: February 17, 2006, 7:58 PM ET
By Rupen Fofaria | Special to ESPN.com

The media ask it of him. NASCAR asks it of him. The fans do, too. All of us, all along. Prodding. Begging. Urging him to be someone else.

From the moment his father died in Turn 4 of the last lap at the 2001 Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was suffocated with expectations that he help get the sport through one of its most trying times, even if he was struggling to figure out how to get himself through the most devastating event in his life. Five years later, Junior shouldn't be ...

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