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Friday, March 30, 2012
Updated: March 31, 3:04 AM ET
Are Junior and Tebow alike?


CONCORD, N.C. -- A reader recently suggested that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the Tim Tebow of NASCAR. The reader suggested that Earnhardt is just as overrated in a stock car as the new New York Jets quarterback is on a football field.

So I asked Earnhardt what he thought about the comparison.

"I haven't really thought about that one," NASCAR's most popular driver said Wednesday after a two-hour drifting session for a Degree Men video shoot at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Do I need to work on my throwing motion? Is my throwing motion OK with everyone?

"No, I'm right-handed. I don't know."

Some would be offended, but not Earnhardt. He's been compared to too many people during his career to get sensitive. So he played along with the line of questioning that many would have avoided, another reason fans like him so much.

"That guy is under too much damn pressure," Earnhardt continued on Tebow. "I like him and think he's a good guy, but Jesus, man. I think he lives under twice the microscope I ever did.

"He's incredible. He doesn't really … fan the flames on that stuff. He just does his own thing. But [I] don't know. I guess that ain't a bad guy to get compared to."

He's right, although a comparison to Peyton Manning by the reader would have been more flattering. But since the comparison was with Tebow, let's have fun with it.

Differences

• Earnhardt doesn't get down on his knees and pray after a great pass. Not that he could even if he wanted to since his passes take place at high speeds in a race car.

• Tebow has Tebowing, but there are no nicknames for any of Earnhardt's mannerisms. He likes to TiVo, not Tebow.

• Earnhardt curses frequently and once was fined $10,000 for saying "s---" on live television; Tebow occasionally says darn.

• Earnhardt owns several bars named Whisky River. Tebow owned Denver last season, but no bars.

• Earnhardt lives in the country on a ranch called "Dirty Mo Acres." Tebow is looking for an apartment in New York City and his idea of dirty, according to an ESPN New York story, is not returning a cereal bowl to the sink.

• Tebow doesn't smoke or drink alcohol; Earnhardt has been known to do both, and once drove for a beer sponsor.

• Tebow won eight times in 2011; Earnhardt hasn't won since 2008.

Similarities

• Each leads his sport in merchandise sales, popularity and criticism.

• Earnhardt won two Nationwide Series titles in NASCAR's second-tier series; Tebow was part of two national championship teams in college, second tier to the NFL.

• One of Earnhardt's bars is in Jacksonville, Fla. Tebow is from Jacksonville, and rumor has it his brother occasionally goes to Junior's place.

• Both have rules named after them: "The Tebow Rule" banning messages on eye paint in college football and "The Junior Rule" that NASCAR calls a caution whenever Earnhardt is in danger of going a lap down. OK, the latter is more myth than rule.

• Both are single and apparently like blondes; Earnhardt dates one and Tebow is a big fan of Jennifer Aniston.

• Earnhardt has a life-size Forrest Gump manikin sitting on a bench at his ranch. Tebow has the too-good-to-be-true personality of Forrest Gump.

• Earnhardt was happy with second in the 2012 Daytona 500; Tebow appears happy to be second string with the Jets.

OK, they're really not that much alike.