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I've been sick all week...

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports

I've been sick all week...

Jeremy T. Sellers
Jerm's Joint
June 13, 2007

So my judgment is surly clouded. However, I attribute Jr. going to Hend(p)rick almost as emotionally draining as his father's passing (and I was there for that one) Though my throat is so sore that when I swallow it feels like I've eaten razor blades, and when I cough, my head swells to the point where it seems it will pop off, I'm still caught up in my own moral dilemma. My brother and I are both diehard Jr. fans, and he assures me it's okay to support him while still hating the other pricks pissing around Hend(p)rick Motorsports. My friend Jim who is on military drills in Arkansas (far cry from Ohio) was upset enough to call me about it today and say, "Go Harvick". Rick Hend(p)rick is a crooked son of a bitch, say what you want, nothing will change my mind on that issue. I consider the devotion so many have given to Dale Jr. and in one hand it seems like a preverbial bitch slap, but in the other, it's almost as if you could see his sigh of relief today during that press conference. Who wants the "New York Yankees" of NASCAR when there are 38 other cars trying to win a race? Who wants complete dominance, though ideal, admit it, what fun would the sport be then? Look at it so far? Unless your a Rainbow Warrior pole smoker fan, has this season been fun? The fact that Jr. hasn't won a race yet, aside, you have to admit, it would kick ass to see Ginn, Hall of Fame, or some other small team cross the finish line first for a change. Ugh, disheartened, disgruntled, and thinking in haste that right now I wouldn't piss on Dale Jr. if he was on fire surly means I need a few days to let this all set in. For when I'm done home medicating, I know I won't mean that. Though maybe I've given you a laugh here tonight when others are playing out soap opera-style drama regarding today's events, I for one will be taking a hard look at my own fan loyalty in the days to come. Notice I stated "My Own"...not hissing at those who choose to stay true; to them I applaud. However I realize it will take me a while to decide how in my own mind, I handle this. My bud Michael has decided I need to hang a black 3x5' flag in my bar in mourning. My former Lt. Eric was wondering if I was going to jump on the Dale Jr. mutiny bandwagon, or have a figurative funeral. My wife, who has come to understand A LOT about racing since we married, is just about in as big a state of disbelief as the rest of our gang. So my fingers flow freely through a state of Niquil and Jim Beam tell me that this will be no easy decision. Surly it was my intent to offer some humor to you all in an otherwise devestating day to those of us who are still wondering "what do we do now".

Response by Bill Crittenden
June 14, 2007

It all depends on who and what you're a fan of. Not speaking to you specifically, Jeremy, but to the world of NASCAR fans as a whole. Are you of a Junior fan than a Gordon hater? Meaning, are you going to let hate determine who you're a fan of, by turning your back on Junior just because he decides to drive for a team you don't like? It seems to me "fans" like that weren't Junior fans to begin with, but perhaps they just thought they were Junior fans because he supposedly represented the anti-Gordon. Even though his father and Jeff got along pretty well, enough to do business together. Oh, and that whole thing in the press conference about Junior and Jimmie Johnson and the motorhome...it's enough to make a Junior fan from Alabama throw a beer can at his own head in frustration!

It reminds me of a time when I went to a WWF (shows you how long it's been) wrestling show near my town. In the ring, these two guys are fueding it out big time. After the show, I'm standing by the ramp where they all get into their rental cars and leave, BOTH guys come out of the stadium together, get in the same car, and drive off. And people are going, "oh, my GOD DIDYOUSEETHAT!?!?!" like it's some big scandalous plot point that the poor saps who only watch on TV are missing. They're friends, that's why they wrestle well together.

It's the same thing in racing as it is in wrestling, you have a track/stage personality, a way you change when you get into a car. Look at Robby Gordon, my father-in-law just went to an autograph signing with him two nights ago, heck of a nice guy in person, but not when he's riding your bumper. Add that to Jeremy's comments in this group earlier. Most fans take the tiny slice of personality they see on race broadcasts ("Crash Gordon") and blow it out of proportion (he can't drive and wrecks other cars), and then they take their own idea of how he should be and sort of extrapolate their personality further (he must be an asshole). Well, he's not. And it's like that for most drivers in NASCAR, I think.

No, Dale Sr. wasn't all-Intimidator, all the time, and he didn't hate Jeff Gordon, no matter how much his fans think or wish he did. Dale Jr. doesn't, either. If fans are going to leave him, let that be the reason and don't be afraid to say it, that they just wanted someone who hates Jeff Gordon and they just found out the hard way that Dale Jr. isn't their man.

Personally, for me, I always liked Junior but never wanted to associate myself with the "Red Army" but now, I think enough of the beer-can throwing idiots will leave him that I'll buy a new t-shirt next year.

And look on the bright side. It's Hendrick! They won, what, 10 out of 14 so far this year? Heck, they even got Casey Mears to victory lane! Of course Junior can with with that team! What if it was Junior that had won 4 races so far this year? You think all those Junior fans would still be bitching about Hendrick winning races? Hell no! I think NASCAR oughta go out and engrave a Nextel Cup with the name "Dale Earnhardt, Jr." and leave the year blank, because that's the only question I have now, is will it be 2009, 2010, or 2011?



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