Friday, May 11, 2007

The latest on Dale Earnhardt Jr.? It's not like we're holding back

Good heavens, it's nuts at Darlington today.

It started last night. I'm flying down the highway trying to get here after working all day on the Dale Earnhardt Jr. story when the phone rings.

"Done deal," the caller says. "Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Childress are meeting right now. They're going to announce a deal Friday at Darlington."

I get to the hotel just before 11 and by the time I get to the room, my boss is on e-mail telling me a Charlotte television station is reporting just what the guy on the phone had said.

"Do we know anything about this?" he asked.

It's one of my favorite questions. What it actually means was, "If this is true and you didn't have it first, I will feed you to pit bulls."

Actually, I wonder if my boss thinks that if I knew something I would decide just not to share it with anybody. Readers and radio listeners think that, too.

"What's the real story," they ask me. Hey, if I know it, I write it. That's my job.

So I start calling and e-mailing people. Finally, about 11:45, I get a response. It goes something like this: "All I can tell you is Dale Jr. is signed with any other team."

Read that again, carefully. Either there's a "NOT" missing there or I've got a big story.

Actually, it was a denial of the TV reports. Dale Jr. is NOT signed with any other team. So I went to bed.

Buy 7 am, when the Sirius NASCAR Radio morning show started in the Darlington Media Center, my email was full of people asking me when the Richard Childress Racing press conference announcing Dale Jr.'s signing would be held.

"Three weeks?" I guessed.

First, it was 9:30. Then 10. Then 10:15. In the media center. In the garage.

There was no press conference. It was Childress holding one interview session so he could say nothing one time instead of holding 100 interviews to say it 100 times.

I've had people e-mail me with more scenarios than you could shake a stick at. Some people

STILL believe Earnhardt Jr. is going BACK to DEI!

Sorry, would love to write more. But Dale Jr. is having his "media availability" in the garage in three minutes. Can't miss that.

It's not like he answered 400 QUESTIONS just 24 hours ago or anything.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOL very enjoyable read. There's no business like show business.

Vroom said...

I hope Junior vrooms in the #3 Bud next year!

BruSimm said...

Great write up on the fanfare and anticipatory breath holding. I really enjoyed your article over on ThatsRacin.com title "Everyone wants to know....."

The Bin laden comment got me laughing pretty hard.

This goes hand in hand with the web sites & reporters that were reporting on the information from the Press Conference Jr held at his shop yesterday, before he had it!!

Time will tell all, no matter what everyone thinks, and some will be right, some will be wrong, and then we can argue about why he made the right / wrong decision, no matter what it is.

Good luck to Jr.

Anonymous said...

David, Great Post! It's about time to throw a Tent over this Circus, I think Richard handled this graciously as usual...If I hear one more peon mention Black/Red #3 and Jr in the same breath I'll Hurl! #5qqijomh

Anonymous said...

Hi David love your radio show listen every day love jr hope he gets things worked out and either goes back to Dei or startes a cup teamat jr motor sports oh yes great read everything you wite is of great intrest to me as i live in the midwest and not much for reporting on nascar here so i come to you and your radio show for my news keep up the good work and good luck jr will be rooting you on in the race tonight

Lynn Dozier said...

David, since Jr. has expressed his desire to keep the #8 on his car as well has his relunctance to drive the #3, do you see the possibility of RCR trading the rights to the #3 to DEI in exchange for the right to fly the #8? Just a thought

Anonymous said...

Teresa Earnhardt has to be the smartest CEO there ever was. Now, before you think I have lost my mind, consider this. The Coca-Cola company decided in the mid-eighties to eliminate old Coke and bring in new Coke. We all know how that went over. So they brought back the original Coke, business was better than ever, profits out the roof and everyone was happy again, even more so than before. Present day, fans, media, NASCAR and corporate sponsors will spend the next two weeks hanging on every word Jr utters to see what happens next. Up steps Teresa Earnhardt, shunned and shamed into submission, she gladly welcomes Jr back to DEI, offers him 51 percent of the company, and even dumps Max for Kelly to be in charge of Global Affairs, whatever that means, and even offers Dale's oldest son Kerri a percentage of the pie as well. All is well and better than ever in E-land. Teresa even joins her mother-in-law Martha in her support for breast cancer research, and helps sell millions of tickets to next years Daytona 500. It will be the biggest and best thing that could have ever happened. Fans will go crazy! DEI will no longer be DOA. Teresa won't have to be the worst stepmother ever since Cinderella's, and Jr will get what he deserves, his father's business, respect and the chance to make it all happen. Now, do you think all of this is crazy, or the best marketing scheme since new Coke????

Anonymous said...

When will "the real story" come out? The long-time ill-will between Theresa's brother, Tommy, and the rest of the Houstons towards her new husband, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Also an in-depth story of the treatment of the Earnhardt kids, including Kerry, who had almost no contact with the family. I don't think any of this was covered in the "puff-piece" film "3" or in "Driver8". No one wants to bad-mouth the legend of the Intimidator, and I agree with that. The man's gone. He was a great racecar driver. His personal live was his own.
But the machinations of Mrs. Earnhardt #3 and her legal and marketing people and the off-handed slams at Dale Junior makes one wonder if there was any serious discussions hled at all.

Anonymous said...

Jr. should go to RCR and not because it would allow him to drive the 3 car. It's because out of all of the championship caliber teams, RCR is the only one that Jr. could go to where he would be the number 1 guy. If Jr. is going to win a championship then he has to be with an organization that will build around him.

If he goes to Hendrick then he's at best the number 3 guy. There's no way he's going to win a championship at Hendrick as long as he's 3rd on the totem pole behind Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Gordon especially if he's driving the 25 car. That car has never had much success no matter how good Hendrick's other cars have been.

The same thing would be true if he went to Gibbs or even Roush. He'll be at best 2nd behind Stewart at Gibbs and 2nd behind Kenseth at Roush since both have been part of those organizations for several years and have won championships.

RCR is the only contender that he can go to where he will have a legitimate shot at a championship as well as being number 1 on the totem pole. RCR makes the most sense for Jr. and it has nothing to do with the 3 car.

Lima gal said...

I would love to see Junior go to RCR...can see him fitting in there better than with the Hendrick guys...drive the Bud red #33. He would be perfect on a team with Harvick, Burton & Boyer!

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at all the 'analysis' involving Jr going anywhere other than RCR. It's been very obvious for at least a year that he wanted to go to RCR. Not only to thumb his nose at his stepmother, but also to stay connected to his father's legacy. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you're upfront about it. IF you're upfront about it, that is...

Something the #8 nation conveniently ignores in their continued bashing of TE is that it would be pretty stupid of her to just give Jr the majority ownership in the company. Not only from an authority standpoint, but from a financial perspective, as well. Why on Earth would you just 'give away' $50+mil worth of a business? Because some people said 'Daddy wanted Jr to have it... one day...'? Key words being - one day. As in when Dale Sr was 70 years old and tired of it all.

Does anyone in their right mind think that, if Dale Sr were alive, he would allow Jr to even talk about leaving? No, he'd say something along the lines of - 'Shut up, boy, and drive. You haven't earned ANYTHING yet.' Remember, it was Sr. who made little e sign over his marketing rights to DEI. Sr, not his wife. Also, if Dale Sr. wanted Jr. to own the company, why didn't he put it in his will? He knew he operated in a risky business, where he could die any time he drove onto the track. You think he wasn't bright enough to realize the impact that Teresa had on his financial success while they were together? She's not just a reclusive babe with a lisp, like the vast majority of Little e Nation believe, trust me. Sr. himself tried to make sure people understood that. She was just as responsible in every sense for the success of the company while Sr was alive, as Sr himself was. I've heard him say so in interviews. Of course, that doesn't corollate with the misty-eyed legends that now abound in the Bud camp.

As far as Jr's business acumen? Well, we have a good insight into it, re: the great experiment of swapping crews with Mikey Waltrip. Despite the revisionist history to the contrary, that was ALL done at the insistence of Jr, because he had such a 'falling out' with his cousin, Tony Jr. Little Dale thought his crew was not good enough to win him a title, and insisted the swap be made.

After the crews proved to not be the ones 'at fault' for not winning little e a championship, he made up with Tony Jr. and swapped back. Thus a year was wasted, at Dale's insistence.

But now he's supposed to be 'given' totally free, a 50+mil share of a business, all because of his name?

Wow... Amazing what perspective myopia lends to a situation...

Anonymous said...

Screw John Darby, Robin Pemerton, Brian France and the rest of NASCAR. NASCAR makes the most inconsistant calls in sports history. I'm done with NASCAR and the races. I may or may not watch some of the last 10 races. They are the only ones that count these days. I hope NASCAR ratings go down in flames. I would encourage everyone to boycott races until NASCAR shows that they can make some kind of consistant calls. Stewart was right on the money with this WWF show!

Anonymous said...

Who the heck ever said Jr. wanted to Teresa to GIVE him anything? He was going to buy out the 51+%. It isn't like he couldn't afford it. Besides, while he was at DEI Teresa
was getting major $ off of his sovenior sales, etc. The next owner he drives for will likely not get as much if anything. Do some research before posting something so ignorant. Give Earnhardt PLEASE.
Like Little E or hate him, he's still the one that bringiing people to the sport. They are not going to watch Paul Menard and Truex. 30% of Earnhardt's sponsorship and sales is better than 100% of Truex and Menard combined. She screwed up and made a terible business decision.

TCBritt said...

everybodys talking about this 51% like Jr wants 51% of the value of DEI, he doesnt, he's said time and time again, its not about money, its about staying competitive in the series, he wants 51% of decision making power so he can make the changes the organization needs, when Jr doesnt win races, he gets 100% of the blame even though decision making about the team is out of his control, he wants to have a hand in his own destiny, DEI doesnt have the resources other teams in the series have and they just can't keep up, Dale Jr brings in a large portion of DEI's income through merchandise and sponsorship, but doesnt have the authority on how to spend it, Teresa probally is a great business woman, but doesnt know what it takes to stay competitive, people are quick to blame Jr for DEI's lack of success, but i dont believe anyone else in the organization has set the series on fire winning races, the only way Jr could have stayed with DEI is if they split the company, Dale Earnhardt Inc could have been a management company controlled by Teresa and handled the legacy of Dale Sr, Dale Earnhardt Racing could have been the racing division of the company, controlled by Jr, this is the only way i can see DEI surviving, without some serious changes, D-E-I will surely D-I-E.

Anonymous said...

Lol... Thanks for making my point for me...

'Who the heck ever said Jr. wanted to Teresa to GIVE him anything?'

Umm... Dale Jr. & Kelley said it. Literally scores of NASCAR media reported that, too. If you want to hurl emotion-laden invective, do it at your current worship, little e.

As for one of your other comments...

'Besides, while he was at DEI Teresa was getting major $ off of his sovenior sales, etc.'

That goes right back to the point I made that NONE of the Dale Nation wants to admit -

'Remember, it was Sr. who made little e sign over his marketing rights to DEI. Sr, not his wife. Also, if Dale Sr. wanted Jr. to own the company, why didn't he put it in his will? He knew he operated in a risky business, where he could die any time he drove onto the track. You think he wasn't bright enough to realize the impact that Teresa had on his financial success while they were together?'

See, it's SOO much easier to follow the fairy tale of Cinderella...err... poor little e who is 'destined' for greatness, but whose 'evil' stepmother screws him out of his 'rightful' share of the legend.

Yeah, the fairy tale is cute, and all, but in the real world, like I said, LIKE I SAID, Dale Sr. was the one who made little e sign over his rights to DEI. If Sr was so set on little e having a voice in the company while in his 20's & 30's, then why did Sr. make little e sign over everything?

But hey, that rains on the fairy tale that #8 nation loves so well.

Here's the funny part - Jr. will go to RCR, guaranteed, as long as night is dark and day is light, GUARANTEED. After all, it keeps him in his daddy's shadow. And let's count the number of championships that Jr wins while there. It's easy... you start with the number zero and you end where you started. Harvick's better than e, and once e gets over there, it will become obvious.

Oh, he'll win some races. Heck, he'll probably end up with 30-35 race wins total. But he won't sniff a championship. Why? because Jr will NEVER decide if he wants to be a race car diver or a rock star, to steal a phrase from a MILF with a lisp.

Book it, Bud nation... Jr can laugh all the way to the bank, but he's missing the lesson his daddy tried to give him. You E-A-R-N championships. And Jr. won't. Not even one.

Anonymous said...

Help! Why do people like the last Anonymous bother with blogs and posts...It is obvious he / she knows all and sees all. Seems better-suited for the circus or for picking the lottery, instead of a discussion board.

Seriously...Why the know-it-all act...it doesn't convice anybody that you know anything, in fact it accomplishes the opposite. Of course, you knew that already...

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