As of Wednesday morning, it will officially be over between Dale Jr. and the wicked, wicked step mother of Turn 4. A deal is reportedly complete between Dale Earnhardt Junior and Hendrick Motorsports. Possible scenarios put Junior in the #5 or #25 of Hendrick, either one pairs him with the #24 Rainbow for the 2008 Nextel Cup Season.
Hearing this piece of news via text message this morning (because some of us have real jobs and can’t sit in front of the computer all day) one question kept running through my mind…
What happened to the NASCAR I used to know??
NASCAR used to be about racing cars, family and pride. Now it’s become a world of contracts, commercials and trying to finish races. All the things that made it great have slowly fallen into the shadow of its own rise in popularity. Remember when….
- Rubbing was racing.
- You actually had to wreck someone to get black flagged.
- Finishing second meant you lost.
- Pride was more important than a new contract.
- The “car of tomorrow” was the heap of banged up metal you had to fix on Monday.
I understand what you did Dale, Jr. By no means am I blaming you or your wicked step-mother for what has transpired, the wheels were in motion long before either of you starting chasing the almighty dollar or seeking the better deal. You are both the product of the NASCAR wreck that is its growing popularity and the reason it is no longer NASCAR.
The roots that made NASCAR so great have also supplied its growth. On Wednesday morning when Dale Jr. inks on the dotted line, he won’t be the guy to uproot the tree. But when that day comes and drivers are on strike for a better retirement plan, remember that Dale Jr. didn’t uproot the tree, he just helped dig the hole.