Cecil Whig - - JUMP­START -

know, a man’s only as good as his work.”

Brooks started his com­pany in 2001, and for awhile he worked out of his home. He then re­lo­cated sev­eral times in the years be­fore buy­ing the old Cape Cod Fur­ni­ture Car­pet store on Conowingo Road.

He drew par­al­lels be­tween Earn­hardt and him­self at that age, right around when he was get­ting R. Brooks off the ground.

“My life­style and his life­style are to­tally two dif­fer­ent things,” Brooks said. “[But in terms of] hard work and de­vo­tion and ded­i­ca­tion and want­ing to be the best of your abil­ity at what you do, from what I know of him, I think we both strive for the best. You’re not go­ing to stop un­til you be­come the best.”

Earn­hardt said he be­lieves he is still some years away from his best — he “ain’t win­ning races every week­end yet.”

And as Brooks him­self noted, the ex­pec­ta­tions sur­round­ing the two as they grew up were very dif­fer­ent. Earn­hardt started rac­ing at 14, af­ter two years of beg­ging his fa­ther and even­tu­ally find­ing a car and spon­sors on his own.

“He had no choice but to let me go race,” he said.

But when the younger Earn­hardt got to the race­track, he was met al­most im­me­di­ately with the ex­pec­ta­tions that con­tinue to trail him to­day. The fel­low youth rac­ers would see him and as­sume he would come out on top, for no rea­son other than his lin­eage. Of course, it wasn’t that easy, and he de­vel­oped an acute re­la­tion­ship with hard work and prac­tice be­cause of it. He knew he’d have noth­ing handed to him.

Head­ing into the fi­nal lap of this Spring Cup Se­ries sea­son, Earn­hardt is sit­ting at No. 41 in the standings, with 15 starts and 99 points over­all. He’s the first to ad­mit he has a ways to go be­fore he meets the ex­pec­ta­tions of his last name.

NAS­CAR is a pe­cu­liar sport though, with many fac­tors con­tribut­ing to a driver’s suc­cess, raw tal­ent be­ing just one. And as ev­i­denced by his grand­fa­ther, Dale Sr., who died from a mid-race crash in 2001, things can go very wrong at the flip of a switch.

This new­est Earn­hardt to the NAS­CAR scene hopes to edge his way up the standings each sea­son, with dreams of even­tu­ally com­pet­ing for a crown. He feels he is still some years from his po­ten­tial.

If the re­cent part­ner­ship is ex­tended, R. Brooks Me­chan­i­cal could be with him every lap of the way.

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