He tugged down the curtain
The risk takers who bet that Jr would dress up and even shave for today's press conference would have won a large sum of money. But no one actually bothered to vote.
Dale did as we all expected and announced that "his new boss is Rick Hendrick." And Rick did as we all expected and announced that June-Bug would be replacing Kyle Busch in the stables at Hendrick Motorsports. Now, Junior's so called "red army" should apparently be all up in arms over the fact that Junior will now be teammates with one of their most hated drivers -- Jeff Gordon. Will this sway the fans when Junior starts to work with Jeff? When they help each other out in drafting? Maybe. Or perhaps bloggers and press alike might be making mountains out of mole hills. I think they'll adjust, because stronger than hatred is their love for Dale Junior. Hendrick now has three, arguably, of the most popular drivers in NASCAR with Dale Junior, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. His powerhouse of a team just got even stronger. Which is great news for them, but bad news for my Rousch boys who just seem to be struggling this year.
Now Junior, I hope realizes that by joining Hendrick he'll no longer be able to blame his lack of winning championships on a bad team -- but he alone will be the sole reason for failure. Time to step up big boy, let's hope that pair you've recently grown are big enough to help you step-up and start being a grown-up.
There's no announcement yet for what number Junior will take on at Hendrick -- any favorites from you all? Remember the number 8 is owned by DEI. I think Jr needs a nice high number -- like 72 -- just to make it harder on his fans. Either way, they're sure to follow him no matter where he goes or what number he drives -- just like you're sure to see tons of Raiders fans dressing up like spikey vikings at whatever game they go to. It's a sure thing.
No word yet where Kyle'll be going, but it seems his leaving Hendrick was as a result of a mutual agreement that occurred during contract discussions.
A room at the Inn
While there was no room at the Inn for a certain baby Jesus, there has been room made at the Inn for one Dale Earnhardt, Jr., despite Hendrick claiming weeks earlier that there would be no room for Jr at Hendrick Motor Sports. But it is expected tomorrow at the press conference airing at 11am EST live from JR Motorsports that Dale will announce that he is signing with Hendrick Motorsports, squashing any and all hopes that DEI might have had left.
Now, those of you who follow motorsports and do math (I know it's a rare combination), might note at the moment that Hendrick has 4 signed drivers and cannot add on a 5th car. So, who goes? For those who don't keep track Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears and Kyle Busch all currently race for Hendrick. Now, most of you would probably assume automatically that the supposed weakest link, Casey Mears, would be the driver receiving the boot. But, NOT SO, according the word around the garage. Word on the street has it that Busch, whose contract is up in 2008, has asked to be let out of his contract early.
Now, for an up and coming driver, this type of decision has to baffle the mind. Hendrick is clearly the superior team this year and there really is no stopping Hendrick at this point in the season. Could he be wanting to leave to race with big brother Kurt? Does he feel unloved at Hendrick or has he just received a secret, under the table, exploding offer from another team that he just can't turn down?
Who knows. The drama will all unfold tomorrow and I promise to keep you, our readers (all three of you ;P ) apprised of the situation. We'll know tomorrow, just as surely race car drivers turn left. But we are now accepting bets as to how many people think Jr. will bother dressing up for this press conference and how many people think he'll once again dress up as a redneck. Odds-on-favorite is that he'll sport traditional redneck fashion.