Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Yankees of NASCAR

I've always suspected that the moment Dale Ernhardt Junior decided to actually leave DEI was the moment he climbed behind the wheel of Kyle Bush's car and took it for a spin. I can just imagine what he must have thought to himself: "Man!" he probably said "This car can move!" And that was all it took. Getting to drive a car from the best team in NASCAR must have felt like heaven to Junior. And a few weeks later he made it official that he and his step-mother would part ways. But from the moment he got behind the wheel of the number five car it was a done deal.

Now it looks as though I was right. This morning word came that Junior will be driving for Hendrick Motorsports next year, the team that already has his arch-rival (and good friend) Jeff Gordon and the reigning cup champion Jimmie Johnson. It means either Kyle Bush is out the door. Sponsorship is up in the air. Will the number 5 car break off its long association with Kellogs? Will Budweiser come on board? And what will be Dale's number (I doubt it will be 4.9)?

Regardless, Team Hendrick has now become the Yankees of NASCAR. With six champions, the winningest active driver and current points leader in Gordon, the reigning champion in Johnson, and now the Red Army behind them, Hendrick is the true juggernaut, a position occupied by Roush only a couple years ago--and how significant is it that Jack Roush merged his opperation with the Voston Red Sox over the winter? Can you say rivalry?


Post a Comment

<< Home