DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, talk prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

One of NASCAR's biggest names says this year hasn't been much fun

This could have been one heck of a farewell tour for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. As he sees it though, it hasn't been very fun.

A strong showing this weekend at his home track in Charlotte would have been nice. A crash in Friday's practice forced a change in cars, then qualifying 23rd, and now a 12th place finish in the Bank of America 500...kind of sums up Earnhardt, Jr's. season.

"I only really have fun when we run well," Earnhardt, Jr. told "It's been a difficult year from a fun meter standpoint. We haven't really moved the needle too much this year."

The fans have been great to Earnhardt, Jr., one of the saving graces to an otherwise disappointing season. Still, he knows it's not as good as what might have been.

"I think that the fans would be having more fun if we were racing for the championship, and then I would be having more fun interacting with them in that manner and their excitement of it," Earnhardt, Jr. said. "So, I think it's a little bittersweet for me and the fans and our supporters with the situation we're in.

Regardless of how the remainder of 2017 plays out, NASCAR's most popular driver's impact on and off the track is cemented. He has over 26 Cup victories, and his JR Motorsports has provided rides to several of NASCAR's more well-known names. His philanthropic endeavors have focused helping children's charities. Those are the kinds of things that make you a fan favorite for life.