Sunday, May 18, 2008

Grist for the rumor mill: Dale Earnhardt Jr going fishing?

Our regular reader knows that when it comes to silly season and rumors, Rev'Jim's can be skeptical, and even downright cynical. So when we find something that we label "grist for the rumor mill," is it time to be afraid?
Probably, or perhaps time to think about the possibilities with an open mind. Or not.
The headline at Scene Daily.Com reads "Earnhardt Jr. considering moving JR Motorsports to Cup."
Now that seems innocuous enough. We would expect that would be in Jr.'s plans for the future of his racing team, as he did take people such as his uncle Tony Eury with him when he left DEI. Tony Eury has a lot of Cup experience, so we know he didn't go to JRM to stay in the Nationwide Series.
He has good reason to want to move to cup as soon as possible. NASCAR will be beginning the transition to the Nationwide Series version of the Sprint Cup car, and Jr anticipates the transition will be difficult and expensive.

“I used to say ‘No way, no way,’” Earnhardt Jr. said. “But it’s almost as expensive to run in the Nationwide Series. And they’re going to bring a [car of tomorrow] in and we won’t be able to race in the Nationwide Series with [it] probably. That’ll just be too expensive to switch all that over.”

So it seems like a good idea, if the GM Racing Division can support another team in the Sprint Cup series. They are already committed to Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, Richard Childress Racing, and Hendrick Motorsports through 2012. At best, JRM could expect as much manufacturer support as Haas CNC gets. But,. and this is what caught my attention:

But the popular driver said such a move would occur only “if the right opportunity comes along with the right sponsorship and driver.”

Does he mean like Home Depot, and maybe Tony Stewart?


Cheyenne said...

How about this scenario:
Tony buys Haas/CNC and then merges with JR Motorsports? They drop the Nationwide series and concentrate solely on Cup. Tony then owns his Cup team(s) and Jr. has an "out" from Nationwide to Cup. (Dale says it will be just as expensive to run the Nationwide series once they introduce the CoT car, as it would to run a full Cup team.)

Tim Zaegel said...

I like Cheyenne's logic on the expenses that it will cost these guys to run in the Nationwide Series ... but, in my mind, Tony will be searching for either sole ownership of a team, or joint ownership with someone who's ... well, not a driver.

These two are great friends, sure, but they both also have egos and their own vision on how to run a team. I don't see them joining in on such a venture together.

Cheyenne said...

In my scenario, Dale would still drive for Hendrick. Just like his father when he owned DEI but drove for RCR. And BTW I beg to differ on the ego thing. Dale Jr. does not have a big ego. And I'm not saying that just because I'm a fan, I'm saying it because it's the truth.
Tony & Dale are great friends on and off the track. Don't they co-own a rack track?

RevJim said...

Actually I was just throwing the idea out for discussion. I already know that, according to most responsible journalists, and Tony Stewart himself, that Smoke has no plans of leaving JGR before 2010, if even then, nor does he have plans of owning a Cup team.
I think Junior is looking for an experienced Cup driver, and there are experienced Cup drivers like Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, and Greg Biffle who are holding out on their own contracts to see what Junior has to offer. Keselowski, I am certain, will be on the team as well.
I agree, Cheyenne, that he will stay with HMS himself for the rest of his career.