Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hello, Rick? About that balance on our engine deal ...

Just a few things I can’t help wondering about:

  • Mark Martin’s No. 01 Chevrolets will use Hendrick Motorsports engines this week at Indianapolis and again next week at Pocono before switching over to Dale Earnhardt Inc. engines after this week’s merger between DEI and Ginn Racing.

    I wonder if Ginn Racing zeroed out its balance with the Hendrick engine department, or if some level of debt might be “forgiven” in return for considerations by DEI in regard to other matters involving Hendrick.

    I’ll give you (number) 8 guesses as to what I’m talking about.

  • I also wonder if anybody really thinks Regan Smith is going to be satisfied with running Truck Series races when a week ago he was told he would be in a Nextel Cup car for the rest of this season?

    Smith has been a good soldier all year long, saying and doing all the right things as his schedule was adjusted in tune with the fortunes of Ginn Racing. But at some point, doesn’t a contract have to be a contract and doesn’t Smith have to be treated with the same respect he’s treated the team?

  • I wonder if anybody else realized before I did that only two drivers have scored more than 700 points in the past five races – the five races since Hendrick Motorsports announced Kyle Busch wouldn’t be back next year.

    One of those drivers is Carl Edwards. The other is Kyle Busch. Yes, I figured that after the decision to go with Dale Earnhardt Jr. over Busch in 2008 was announced the No. 5 team might start falling apart. And while there has been some outward tension, the team and its controversial driver are still getting the job done.

    Busch isn’t perfect and I won’t pretend that he is. But he’s a heck of a race car driver. If you don’t recognize that, you’re not paying attention.

  • I wonder about people who’re saying that if changes being made at Dale Earnhardt Inc. had been made sooner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. might have stayed with the team.

    First, Earnhardt Jr.’s decision to leave was always far more about the relationship he and Teresa Earnhardt have had for the past 25 years than about how they’ve worked together at DEI.

    Second, when Earnhardt Jr. announced that he was leaving everyone realized that DEI was at a crossroads. To the credit of Teresa Earnhardt, as well as Max Siegel and the other people who are working along with her, they’ve found a pathway that now looks like they’re heading toward long-term viability in the sport.

    Yeah, I was among those who said and wrote that if DEI didn’t find a way to keep Earnhardt Jr. that it was in big trouble. Who knows how things will ultimately turn out, but if I had to make a call on whether I was right or wrong about that right now, I’d have to go with dead, flat wrong.

    As a matter of fact, I don’t think I could have been MORE wrong. It seems now that the best way for Earnhardt Jr. and for DEI to move forward is for them to do it on diverging paths.

  • I wonder if ESPN has somebody who’s smart enough to say that too many bells and whistles can ruin a good broadcast. I sure hope so.

    ESPN has a great team assembled to do Nextel Cup races. I know how much doing Cup races means to anchor Jerry Punch and I am very happy he’s getting this opportunity. But when ESPN started this year doing Busch races it threw so much at its viewers that it was hard to figure out what to look at on the screen.

    Fans want to see the race. Everything else is icing, and as much as I hate to admit it, you can have too much icing on a cake.

  • 15 comments:

    Nascar and the Canadian Curmudgeon said...

    Very good David I hadn't thought of the (8)reasons...sounds reasonable to me...

    It didn't matter what happened the relationship between Junior and Teresa was bad for awhile I don't think much would have changed that..In some ways it is a good thing they split..both will get to breathe a little fresh air which might help a bit down the road...

    Regan must be in a quandary..He has been the good soldier and followed the program and now ended up in a truck..( I wonder what happened to Kinser?)..It might be wise to seek other employment that is if his contract allows...

    Kyle Busch is an asset to any team just on talent alone...If he hasn't signed soon I will be scratching my head..The kid can wheel a car and with time the rough edges will get smoothed out just from experience..

    I was on the bandwagon that DEI might become a museum after Junior's departure..Boing!!! wrong again...

    I don't know about anyone else but I'm about belled and whistled out when it comes to TV pestulance..oops I mean broadcasts..

    Anonymous said...

    Hmmmmm I think Tony Stewart was partially right, DEI without Dale Jr would be a "Museum"...I applaud what has become DEI/Ginn/RCR deal! But it appears that the Garage Mahal may very well be just a shrine...even tho it possess more room to grow than yhe Ginn shops. I am hedging that the #5 will out perform the #8 for the remainder of the season. I wonder if rumors of Mark Martin filling the #8 seat next season will quell the annoying "free the 8 chant"...thanks Rikki Rachman
    #5

    Anonymous said...

    Very observant Mr. Poole. Although the 8 is yet to be seen. But as a Junior fan I think that too will go. Thanks for the heads up on the NASCAR Ulltimate series. Espn is doing a reply on the series starting Saturday just incase you want to put that out there. You know incase someone's TiVo is acting up. (like mine) Thanks for the blog and the Morning Drive.

    Anonymous said...

    The fact of the matter is that I don't see Mark Martin staying with Teresa Earnhardt and DEI. He went to work for Bobby Ginn and Jay Frye. No one has gotten a comment from him regarding all of this...so let's not get the wheels ahead of the bus. The fact still remains that DEI is lacking for full-time drivers if they do not land Kyle Busch.

    Speaking of Kyle Busch...it might be true that he is one of only 2 drivers to score 700 points. But is that really going to matter when Hendrick removes him from the Car before or during the Chase. I can very much see a situation where Hendrick jumps at the opportunity to stick it to young Rowdy Busch. Now that will be hilarious.

    But I agree completely that the #8 will be going to Hendrick and Jr. DEI will have a nice round package with 01, 1, 5, and 15....no need for 8.

    Jeff said...

    I was wondering about that Hendrick motor as well... I figure as soon as this deal was finalized, they started dissecting that Hendrick motor to see how they can make their DEI/RCR partnership engines better before they have to give it back!

    Jeff said...

    To the last Anon poster:

    "The fact still remains that DEI is lacking for full-time drivers if they do not land Kyle Busch."

    How do you figure??? They have Truex and Menard for sure. They have Almirola, Smith, and Martin from the Ginn deal. They could probably retain Sterling if they wanted to, but that could be tough without a seat for him to drive right now. Don't know that he would sit out for the rest of this year and then come back next year...

    So, that gives us 2 drivers locked up for sure, 2 up and comers that could be ready to make the jump to a full-time ride, a semi-retired part timer, and Sterling. That's either 4, 5 or 6 drivers, depending on how you count them. Last I checked they'll run 4 cars next year. Don't know how they could be lacking for drivers... If anything they have an overabundance!

    -Jeff

    Anonymous said...

    Excuse my ignorance, but I don't see where the DEI/Ginn deal has suddenly made it so obvious to everyone that DEI is going to succeed and do well without Junior.

    Call it a merger if you want, but what it sounds like to me is DEI has bought a financially floundering racing operation for points and space. I don't believe for a minute that Teresa is not still in charge, nor do I think Bobby Ginn will be in the picture for very long. Let's face it, Teresa just isn't used to sharing her sandbox with others.

    If mega-millionare Bobby Ginn wasn't able to pull it off without dipping too far into his personal kitty, why should we think that mega-millionaire-widow Teresa Earnhardt will be able to do it? She certainly hasn't proven herself to be one to spend money in order to make money in these past few years ruling over DEI.

    For years now, she's been in the "gathering" stage of money-making, reaping mucho profits off of that red-headed stepson of hers as his popularity has grown to near-ridiculous proportions. I can only imagine the hit DEI's bottom line is going to take now that he has taken his famous name and money-spending legions elsewhere.

    So, I'm sorry to go against popular opinion, but you're going to have to explain to me how a notorious tightwad (as far as racing operations go) team owner joining forces with a fast-sinking wannabe
    team owner is going to save DEI. Especially since one is losing their main cash cow driver, and the other's main driver is an old-timer, driving part-time and heading toward retirement.

    I can't think of a single driver out there who will be able to make up for DEI losing Junior and his millions. I give it two years, five tops, before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

    Oh, and as far as the number 8 goes, Teresa will gladly pay Ginn's tab with Hendrick before she lets go of that number. Once again, you're looking at it from a business point of view. It's all personal with her. She'll keep the number 8, even if it isn't used next year, and she'll probably really believe that she's "won". Poor dear.....

    nh_nascarfan said...

    Can someone please tell me how I can meet Teresa? It seems as though everybody on every blog, call in show, whatever all seem to know her personally. I dont know her, nor will I pretend to, so I dont know what her actual thought process happens to be. Maybe she is a selfish, money grubbing you know what, but maybe she isnt... maybe she is just a business woman trying to run her business the way she sees fit. Now not everyone may agree, including Jr, but lets face it - in the 6 years since Seniors death, she has not managed to run the company into the ground. Granted, they have under achieved on the track, and that could be due to a million and one reasons, none of which can be proven as fact or fiction - but the bottom line is Jr didnt agree, so he moved on. Lets see if he is successful at Hendrick.

    I also want to know how I can talk to Dale Sr by Séance; it seems as though all of these people who know Teresa so well talk to Dale on a regular basis and let us all know what he is thinking - how he would have run his business differently, how he is turning over in his grave, yada yada yada. Or did I miss the interview on Sportscenter prior to his death that told everyone exactly what his business plan was?

    The bottom line is this folks - Dale Jr left for what he believes to be a better job with more opportunity - who amongst us hasnt done that during our careers, for whatever the reason? And the company we left usually does just fine without us. Teresa did what she needed to do, and I have no doubt DEI will be a strong contender for years to come, especially with the recent merger/acquisition/whatever.

    This deal with Ginn is great on all levels, including added resources (people, space and equipment) and allows DEI to remain competetive starting this weekend until whenever... adding 180000 square feet and all the top notch equipment that Ginn bought can not be a bad thing! Rikki - the Ginn shop is almost double the size of the current DEI shop.

    Mark Martin went to Ginn because Ginn gave him a part time ride on Marks terms when nobody else would. Although I havent talked to Mark personally about this (I dont know him either), I think it stands to reason that if he is given the same deal by DEI as Ginn, and thats what Mark still wants next year, he will stay. I have yet to hear Mark Martin criticize DEI or Teresa, so how can anyone assume he is gone next season?

    Rick Hendrick is not going to remove Kyle Busch this year, period. And no, I dont know Rick personally, but it makes no sense at all - Kyle is under contract and there are major sponsors at stake who Hendrick would like to keep around for a long time (Kelloggs). This is different than the Ginn situation as there were no sponsors to alienate, which is what caused the issues to begin with. Besides, a Nextel Cup would be worth millions to HMS, even if Kyle won it and left... besides, its not as though Kyle sponsored dog fighting or gambled on races, he is just your typical cocky, loud mouthed 22 year old - but a VERY talented one at that.

    Anonymous said...

    I agree with your comments about too much icing on the cake. Just show the racing and not so many speed shots and in car cameras.

    Anonymous said...

    David;
    Regarding Jr. and Ginn: Do you know anything about a book called "The 200 MPH Billboard?" I saw it on Amazon and it looks pretty good. There are a ton of books about NASCAR and the drivers, but this is the first one I've seen about the business side of NASCAR, which few people talk about, but you know has taken over NASCAR. Have you read it? It's by some guy from The Wall Street Journal, so I though it would be pretty good.
    Al Bonarski
    Cary, N.C.

    Anonymous said...

    When Dale Jr. to Hendrick was announced, I thought that DEI was all but dead. I couldn't see how they could survive without Jr.

    Now though it looks like they may be better than ever. The Ginn merger gives them more space, more cars, Mark Martin for at least the rest of this year, and maybe the most important thing, a 7 post shaker.

    Would this deal have happened if Dale Jr. was majority owner? We'll never know. But Teresa and Max have managed to pull it off and they deserve credit for it. If they add Kyle Busch to their stable then they'll definately be a force to be reckoned with.

    I know that Jr. fans will think I'm an idiot but I think that DEI might actually be in better shape with Jr. leaving than they would be if he had stayed.

    Anonymous said...

    yes mergers will happen and small race teams will get large and as these teams have become large corporations they should have to live by the same rules as any other large company.The real story of the 120 or more people that lost their jobs without any notice before or any severance pay and having their insurance cut off 5 days after their layoff.I just bet no other large company can do this to their workers.Someone needs to research this and tell the rest of the story of this merger.

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