Monday, March 23, 2009

Hello? Dale Jr.? Hello?

Kyle Busch couldn’t resist taking a shot or two at Dale Earnhardt Jr. after winning at Bristol Sunday.

Dale Jr. is, of course, perennially the most popular driver in NASCAR’s top series. Busch made an obvious reference to Dale Jr. in his postrace interview when he said: "For me, I don't think I would enjoy having the most fans out there. I actually like the way I am, the role I portray. And I think that there's probably too much pressure on one guy's shoulders who doesn't seem to win very often. But for us, it's a blast to go out there and do what we do."

“Who doesn’t seem to win very often.” Sadly, that’s very true. As our noted motorsports writer David Poole wrote today: “Earnhardt essentially took Busch's ride at Hendrick Motorsports before the start of the 2008 season. Since that time Earnhardt, who finished 14th Sunday, has won once while Busch has now won 10 times.”

Earnhardt now sits 19th in the standings after five races. He has never won an overall championship (his daddy won seven of them). Dale Jr. is by all accounts a great guy. I’ve had nothing but pleasurable dealings with him myself. I am forever indebted to him for turning me onto the best comedy on TV, the remarkable "The Office."

But can’t No.88 win a little more often? A Busch-Earnhardt Jr. at the top level of NASCAR would be a marketer’s dream. But Earnhardt Jr. is already a lap down in that duel – he’s going to have to pick up the pace or he’s never going to have a chance to respond to Busch where it counts.

On the track.


Jeff said...

Face it Jr. fans: Kyle is what you want Jr. to be. End of discussion

Crow On a Wire said...

Let's be honest here, Busch should be thanking Jr for taking his ride at Hendrick. Afterall Busch didn't exactly light the world on fire in the 5 car (the same car that Jr is now driving) while he was the "test car" for the 48 and 24 team. With that said, it would be nice to see Earnhardt Jr race harder out there-even if it's for 10th place. The guy seems to lack the fire in the belly. You have to admit though, the guy is in a catch 22 situation though, if he races hard and someone goes spinning, the media will be on him like white on rice (see Daytona). As for the comment below, I'm sure Jr fans would love for the 88 to have Kyle's success, but guy has the personality of a horse's ass-I'm not sure they would trade for the success if the personality came with it...

Junie said...

I don't want Jr. to be anything like Kyle. Jr. hasn't bothered him but it just eats him alive that he had to leave Hendrick because Jr. was coming. He actually should be happy because he is running great at Gibbs. Why can't he get over it? Kyle's comments Sunday were totally uncalled for. Kyle should also remember that "what goes up must come down". He is going to hit a slump sooner or later. He's a great driver. Go with it. Get over the obsession with Jr hate.

Kenorv said...

I don't think this was as much of a shot at Jr. as it was towards Rick Hendrick. I think he wants to remind Rick every chance that he gets, that Rick traded down when he decided to dump Kyle for Jr.

Kyle knows as well as anyone how things work at HMS. The emphasis there is on the 24 and the 48 while the 5 and the 25, well now the 88, are more or less on their own. I think Kyle just wants to remind Rick what could have been if Rick has put Kyle and the 5 team on equal ground as the 24 and the 48.

I'm not sure why he doesn't come out and say just that though. I'm not sure why his comments were directed towards Jr. when like Junie said, Kyle isn't upset at Jr. He's upset at Rick for dumping him in favor of Jr.

But I'm going to disagree with Junie and say that he shouldn't get over it. Athletes have all sorts of different things that motivate them. I know that it's easy for us to say that pro athletes shouldn't need any motivation since they're getting paid to do what they do but that doesn't seem to be the case. A lot of them play better when they have that chip on their shoulder. Tom Brady, for example, is still upset to this very day that he was a 6th round draft pick and that's what motivates him to play at the level that he does. Even today, he still wants to prove to all of the people that passed on him in the draft that they were wrong for doing so. So if Kyle's motivation for racing as hard as he does is to prove Rick wrong for dumping him then I don't have a problem with that.

Redbluff said...

Kyle is really showing more weakness. He is just jealous that Jr. has the fans. Sure Jr needs to get his butt in gear. First get a real crew chief. Then get his act together and drive like his Dad taought him to do.

Old_Guy said...

Kyle's right on when he describes the pressure Junior is under.
Junior is like Gulliver, all those little guys with all those little ropes got him tied down. He could overcome any one of them, but not all of them. In basketball there is a saying: "Let the game come to you." In most every quote from Junior, it is evident that he is trying much too hard.