A lot of Junior's early prime of his career was impacted by the fact that his father did pass away. He was stuck with his stepmother running DEI and she had no business doing so as she ran that organization into the ground, and the fact that Junior was as competitive as he was during that stage of his career should be attributed to his racing abilities. I mean, DEI basically became a nonfactor as soon as Junior left for Hendrick. Then the last years of his prime were wasted in the first years of Hendrick being with a pit crew chief that he didn't click with. Imagine Tom Brady with any other coach besides Belicheck. Would Brady be GOAT if he wasn't with Belicheck his entire career? Probably not, and if it's not hard to imagine that, why is it hard to grasp that the relationship between a crew chief and a driver is similar? By the time Junior did get paired with a chief at Hendrick that he got along with, he was out of the prime of his career. Perhaps I'm making excuses for Junior's inability to win a championship. And I'm certainly not saying Junior is on the same level as Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon or even his father. What I am saying is Junior dealt with a lot of crap over his career that would buried a lesser driver, and while he didn't win a championship, he was still relatively successful and certainly was a class act. He certainly wasn't making these "excuses". But I still can't help but think if his father doesn't die, or Theresa turns over operations of DEI to someone who actually knows what he/she is doing, or if he races with Hendrick his entire career, or if he got put with a crew chief that he meshed well with from the beginning at Hendrick, perhaps he does have at least one championship on his resume.