It's time, Dale.  The winless-streak has lasted over three years and spanned 109 races.

It's time you won a race, Junior.  You've come close several times.

At this point, whether you're a loyal member of Junior Nation or just a loyal member of this great nation, it's time to watch Dale Earnhardt Jr. make a trip to Victory Lane.

The Fourth of July weekend means a lot of fireworks will rocket into the sky.  In NASCAR's case, what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a big bang that sends noise across the country!?

Before I lose the cynics, I'll declare that I am not a member of Junior Nation.  However, I am a race fan that wants to see the sport do well.  Love him, hate him, or fall somewhere in between like I do, Earnhardt Jr. is the most popular and most recognizable figure in NASCAR, and it's in the best interest of the sport for him to do well.

NASCAR has been slipping lately in its popularity.  It's a foreign concept to me since I get more excited about the sport each year, yet empty seats and sinking TV ratings argue a point.  Some (not myself) claim that Jimmie Johnson's uncontested run at the top has lost some fans.  Others point to the downtrodden economy or rising gas prices.  Surely, the move from FOX to TNT for the summer races hasn't helped keep interest, since fewer viewers get a full cable package.

What NASCAR needs right now is something to push itself back into the national spotlight.

And, the perfect way to do that would be for the country's most popular driver to win a race at its most well-known track on it's biggest holiday weekend.

Cue up Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona on July 2nd.

While I'm not in his pit box, I've obviously come to start pulling for Earnhardt Jr. to win.  If you read my fantasy columns, you'll see I diligently start him anytime I sense he could break his slump.  However, due to the rules of Yahoo's fantasy NASCAR, I can play a driver nine times a year; I've used him six times and, with just three opportunities left, I'm still waiting for his day and my reward.

Aside from the perfect storyline, this Saturday's race at Daytona is a place where he stands a good chance of winning.

Historically, Junior has done well at this track, barring the inevitable Big One whose bell tolls for all at some point or another on such superspeedways.  In recent years, he's finished with four top-10s in the last seven races and two of the other three involved the a fore mentioned accident.  He's also won at Daytona twice in his career.

While he claims he doesn't like the new two-car draft system, as a member of Hendrick Motorsports, he's on a strong team to capitalize on that style of racing.  Hendrick tends to have a few cars near the front of the pack to team up.  In a fourth place finish at Talladega earlier this year, Earnhardt Jr. was the one that pushed teammate Jimmie Johnson to a razor thin victory over Clint Bowyer.  Perhaps, it's someone's turn in the Hendrick garage to pay back the favor (ahem, Jimmie!).

It's time!

For those that are Junior fans, it's time he rewarded your loyalty.

For those that aren't Junior fans, it's time that he gave us bloggers something else to babble about.

For the betterment of NASCAR, it's time Dale Earnhardt Jr. won a race.  This Saturday's race in Daytona is the perfect time to do that.

-JS