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All is quiet on the NASCAR front …. too quiet!

December 14th, 2010

Oops! Been so long since I did an article, the comments closed on the last one! :-O The NASCAR news has been pretty meager since the season ended. Hopefully things will pick up soon!

Just a quick little post on some of my thoughts regarding the changes at HMS. I got all excited about them at first. It looked like Junior finally found the Earnhardt in him again and demanded a major change in his situation from Rick.  He seemed to have achieved that with the announcement that he was moving to the #48 garage and getting LeTarte and the #24 crew. Unlike most Gordo fans, I think LeTarte is an excellent CC, and assuming Junior and LeTarte would get the same quality of support that Gordo was getting in the form of engineering, I was excited for his prospects in 2011. However, after reading Junior’s subsequent interviews since the first announcement, I saw the same naive, head in the sand comments that he’s been giving the last 2.5 years. He’s even in talks with Rick to renew his contract – two years before it’s up! What driver would even consider that with the way he’s been treated at HMS??

Anyway, from his comments, it seems like Junior still expects to just “show up and drive” and “trust Rick” and he’ll be successful. He still appears to want to place his career in the hands of a car salesman who had to get a pardon from Slick Willy to escape a Federal prison sentence!  The same guy who destroyed his team and pulled Darrian Grubb off his team when he was on a Championship run in 2008! Say it’s not so! While this is all a move in the right direction, if Junior doesn’t start taking charge and paying attention to what’s going on with his team, we’re never going to see any REAL success! Rick will just start taking Junior for granted again and favor the other drivers who DEMAND championship caliber teams! It’s already happened to Junior at HMS, if he isn’t going to clue in, history will just repeat itself!

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that he’s doing this since he repeats that “show up and drive” mantra in some form or another almost every time he’s interviewed on the subject. He still doesn’t want to be bothered by all that other “stuff”. All you have to do is look at ANY other top driver in NASCAR and see that that type of attitude will NEVER win a championship! If you want to be Champion, you need to make sure you’re getting the best of the best at every level of your team. You’re NEVER going to get that by simply trusting someone like Rick to do it for you for another 5 years! Dang, I’ve been counting down the years for the end of this worse-than-TE torment, and now there’s talk of ADDING years to it! Will the pain ever end??

I used to write off those type of “show up and drive” and “trust Rick” comments from Junior as him just trying to be PC for the public and hoped that there was more going on behind the scenes. However, after 2.5 years of this torture, watching him be the highest paid embarrassment in NASCAR, it’s becoming more and more obvious that what we see might just be what we’re getting! I hope it’s not true, but after reading his comments, I was a little discouraged, and then reading a couple days later that he’s negotiating a contract extension I was pretty defeated! If he thinks signing an extension 2 years before his contract is up is going to keep Rick’s feet to the fire, he’s even more naive than I previously thought! Anyone with any experience at all in business knows exactly what I’m referring to! Especially when dealing with a Slick Willy crony like Rick!

What happened to the take charge Earnhardt Junior who, when TE was letting DEI fall apart, brought his AND Truex’s cars to JRM to get set up right?? What in the last 2.5 years shows him that he can trust Rick anymore than TE for his team’s performance?? Those two are birds of a feather! I just can’t believe the red blooded racer Dale Junior I watched and rooted for – even against his dad at times – is gone! Get it back and get it done Junebug! Make Rick perform for what he’s getting paid for! The way to do that is to keep the pressure on, not by giving away all your negotiating leverage by resigning before Rick even performs! This boy needs a long talk with Kevin Harvick!

So I just don’t know what to think about what this change will mean in the end for Junior. I think the move to the #48 garage and getting LeTarte as a CC will make a dramatic improvement in his performance. Of course his performance has been so dismal the last 2.5 years, he’ll still be far from Championship material if he still expects to just “show up and drive”. Hopefully there’s more to all this and he’s taking charge more than it appears; that he’s going to pay attention to what’s going on with his team and demand Rick give him what his sponsors are paying for! It’s also possible – and unfortunately looks probable from all of his comments and actions – that he just doesn’t want the hassle and stress involved in being a top driver and will be content with being a driver who gets a win every once in a while, probably makes the Chase, but is never much of a threat for the Championship. Maybe a big paycheck is all that’s really important to him anymore!

I hope it’s not the latter! I’ve been waiting to see the real Junior back for toooooo long! I hope those talks of contract negotiations are just Rick trying to sucker him in AGAIN for his sponsorship money and that Junior won’t be foolish enough to fall for it! At least not until he sees Rick make an effort to back up his spiel with some action! Real, performance, Championship caliber action!

Again, next year should be drastically better than the embarrassment we’ve all had to deal with for 2.5 years, but I really hope we see the old Dale Earnhardt Junior back in action again!

Time will tell! My “quick little post” turned into something a little longer. That happens when I write “rants” in the early morn. lol I’ll eventually write more on the subject and include more facts to support my opinions (of course most of you have seen those in my past stories and posts), but I’m hoping if I wait a bit, I can write a more postive article than I can right now.

leftturns190

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