Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dale Jr. Could Take a Lesson From Playbook of Stewart and Kahne

After witnessing what some have dubbed Black Sunday, fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. are understandably discouraged.

For the No. 88 team, the entire weekend was a bust. A big ugly bust.

It only takes a few minutes of reading post-Dover comments to realize that Junior Nation is also angry.  Some are calling for the head of crew chief Lance McGrew on a platter.  Others are casting aspersions upon team owner Rick Hendrick.  A superstitious few are even claiming that if Junior had kept his beard, he wouldn't have suffered such a disappointing setback.

Well, in the words of The Office's, Michael Scott, "I'm not superstitious, I'm just a little stitious."  And I doubt Junior's beard had anything to do with it.

Yes, Dover was dismal.  Yes, Junior hasn't won a race since 2008. But on the flip side, it only takes one good night to build season-changing momentum.

Look at Tony Stewart.

Last year about this time, Stewart hadn't won yet.  In fact, his year started with crashing his new teammate during Daytona 500 practice. But Smoke's emotional victory at the All-Star race became the key to propelling his fledgling team to four more wins - all for points.

And then there's Kasey Kahne.  In 2007, Kahne was winless.  His 2008 season didn't start out so hot either.  But winning the 2008 All-Star contest flipped a switch.  He smoked the very next race at Charlotte. Then he won again at Pocono.

In fact, four of the last five All-Star champs have proceeded to win at least one more race in the same season.

And, this may be woefully oversimpified, but that's all Junior's fans are asking for. A win. Points would be great, but seeing the No. 88 car in Victory Lane Saturday night would do much to soothe the restless Nation.

Not to mention, the timing couldn't be better. Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of Junior's memorable rookie season All-Star win in 2000.  It's also the eve of Dale Earnhardt's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

If you're Dale Jr. there would be no better way to pump up your fan base than by taking the checkers this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And if history is any indication, a win there could mean the start of a beautiful season.

How's that for positive thinking?


  1. It is not positive thinking if it is denial!!! Positive thinking is seeing truth and then not giving it your power.

    Some of us have been "pumping it up" for 2 years and our arms are sore.

  2. I agree! My arms are sore too. I am also tired of looking for different reasons as to all the whys and frankly I think I am finished.

  3. The problem is JR. Lance is a great crew chief and Hendrick has the BEST cars 4 out of 5 times. #1 Problem with Jr is JR!!!!!!

  4. Mcgrew is a great chew chief? How did you come to that conclusion? He was demoted to r&d after he couldn't make it as a cup crew chief.

    Jr had 15 wins and two Busch titles with one crew chief. Since he lost that crew chief he has a mere 3 wins in the same amount of time. So yeah it's the crew chief.

  5. Jr. is the biggest FRAUD!!! in Nascar!!! wake up Jr nation (whatever the heck that is) plain and simple he just isnt that good!! he chose to go to Hendrick ,he chose his crew, he got one fired and prob. another one is next!! Dover should of proved it to you!! crying on the radio!! something is wrong with the car, and NOTHING was found!!! like Harry Hogg said in Days of Thunder, "Get out of the car oooooo!" FRAUD!!!!

  6. There has to be something going on with Jr that we don't know about. I don't think he cares about racing anymore. Whether it's a combination of losing his father, almost dying in the corvette, or something else, there is something bad wrong with the boy. You can sense it during his interviews. If he needs a kick in the butt, Tony Eury Sr is the one to do it. If he's just being a whiney-toad jerk, he should be fired. If he hates racing, he should quit. Enough is enough.

  7. There's nothing wrong with Jr.! He's still selling lots of T-Shirts.

  8. It's Theresa's fault. It's Hendrick's fault. It's the crew chief's fault. It's bad cars. It's bad parts. Blah, blah, blah. Only one common denominator here, folks.... Junior.

    And please give up citing the two Busch Championships as proof of his racing greatness. Truex came along behind and did it twice in the same stuff.

  9. None of us know what's going on behind closed doors during the week preparing cars for Jr. One thing is for sure the 'Team' yes Team has struggled alot this year, it is NOT one person it is a combination of things. The cars do not seem to have the adjustability in them as 'other' HMS car do, Jr's driving style could be very different than the 'other' 3 HMS drivers & feedback from them just might not be the answer. Rick knows what is needed (my opinion) I think we are just all waiting to see when he pulls the trigger. Time will tell.

  10. Well, I do think that Jr's driving is much different than Gordon, Johnson and Martin. Much closer to Derrick Cope methinks.

  11. My man Dale Jr. will win sooner or later, fans expect to much from him because of whom his father is and was, so be it, Jr is himself, he will win, all has there ups and downs, he has been through alot with all that has gone on in the past with his fathers passing, I blame alot on his step mother... DALE JR.. WILL WIN AGAIN.. HE IS THE MAN...

  12. i have seen him lead many laps in the last fou or five years but the car never gets better as the race goes on it gets worse johnson can start a race with a bad car and before the race is over he is as fast as anyone why is this? is it the driver being able to tell better feedback the reason i agree he aint did nothing since they got rid of pops as crew chief

  13. diesledogg@aol.comMay 22, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    there is now reason that all of hendrick cars can run to gether thy come off the same jig power plant same engine room the 48 car gets all the hot parts and the better crew chif even the 5 car is not running the he shuld martin should be running circle around every body he has the most expents out there on the track mr hendrick get your house in order if u cant get sombody that can

  14. Ok folks, I keep seeing on every freaking page that Jr doesn't love the sport anymore, he's lost his interest and blah, blah, blah. Well if that's true, then why in th world does he do out & risk his f-ing life everyweekend, huh? You will say for the money. NOPE! He's got plenty of that. He's human, just like the rest of us. He's got demons, just like the rest of us. We aren't perfect, so I dn't know y you ppl think he has to be. Get over yourselves, shut up & leave him alone. Yeah, part of te problem is with him, but it isn't ALL his fault. There's no I in team.