Saturday, February 10, 2007

How can you not pull for a guy like Boris Said?

Sights and sounds from Saturday at Daytona International Speedway:
It’s hard not to pull for a guy like Boris Said, who’s among the drivers who’ll be fighting for the final few available spots in the Daytona 500 field in today’s qualifying and Thursday’s 150-mile qualifying races.
Said was talking this week about how hard it is for him, as a part-time driver with a part-time team, to work his way into Nextel Cup races when 35 (or 36, with a former champion’s provisional) are guaranteed to full-time teams.
“I’ll go back to Indianapolis last year, which was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever gone through,” Said said. “I was the bubble for a little while and it came down to the last guy, who had been faster than me in practice.”
Said said the mood in his trailer at that moment was like the movie “My Dog Skip,” which is sad enough to wring a tear from even the hardest of hearts. But the last car didn’t go faster than Said, meaning his car was in the Allstate 400.
“In 15 seconds it turned into ‘Brokeback Mountain’ with guys slapping each other on the butts and hugging and kissing each other and telling them we loved each other” Said said. “It was such an emotional swing that day.”

The more I think about it, the more the simplicity of what Dale Earnhardt Jr. is doing in his contract negotiations with Dale Earnhardt Inc. emerges in my mind.
I am sure Earnhardt Jr. has some problems with how DEI is being run as a racing company by his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt. I am sure he has concerns about the company’s future as a racing enterprise.
But I’m also convinced that this is as much about how Earnhardt Jr. believes he was treated when he was a boy, when he was shipped off to military school, as it is about anything else.
Basically, he feels like Teresa Earnhardt didn’t want him around. Now, he’s got a chance to let his stepmother see much that hurts.

You can’t make stuff like this up, I promise you. Tums is an associate sponsor on Reed Sorenson’s No. 41 Dodges this year, and it’s trying to be a little bit “different” in its marketing.
Next week, it plans to put out a list of favorite restaurants near tracks, presumably ones that might encourage people to use more of its product.
This weekend, Tums has released results of a Harris Interactive poll that asked male and female NASCAR fans which drivers “make their hearts burn and which ones give them indigestion.”
Not surprisingly, Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the list of those that make fans’ “hearts burn.” He was picked by 48 percent of all fans and 55 percent of female fans. Jeff Gordon was second, Tony Stewart third and Kasey Kahne fourth.
Gordon, conversely, was first in the “indigestion” category, with Stewart second, followed by Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and then Earnhardt Jr.

Sometimes, qualifying order is a big deal at a track. That’s usually true, for instance, if qualifying starts when the sun is out and goes into darkness. Later is usually better in that circumstance because the track cools off and, usually, gets faster.
Qualifying at Daytona takes FOR-EVER. Time trials begin at 2:10 p.m. Sunday and it might be 6:30 or so when it’s all over. That means it could cool off as the day goes along, but what seems to impact qualifying more here at Daytona is the wind – direction and velocity – so it’s hard to know whether earlier or later will be better Sunday.
For what it’s worth, Brian Vickers, Joe Nemechek, Kenny Wallace, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are the first five scheduled to run Sunday afternoon. The final five scheduled are Kevin Lepage, Elliott Sadler, David Reutimann, Carl Edwards and Tony Raines.
Ricky Rudd, fastest in practice on Saturday, is slated to go out 49th. Teammate David Gilliland goes out 26th. Sterling Marlin, also fast in practice, is 15th in the qualifying order. Juan Pablo Montoya is 30th and Jeremy Mayfield is 42nd.

During Speed’s practice coverage Saturday, Darrell Waltrip was talking about what a great accomplishment it was for Toyota to have any of its brand-new cars in the top 10 in practice speeds in its first outing – Jeremy Mayfield’s No. 36 was fourth fastest. Whether you agree with that or not, the fact that he has appeared in about 40 commercials touting Toyota’s entry into the sport, that he has driven Toyotas in the Truck Series and that his brother, Michael, owns three Toyota Nextel Cup teams makes it hard to take anything DW says about Toyota anything other than an advertisement.
…Everybody’s talking about how many cars there are here this year, but while checking on something else I found out there were 58 entered in the Daytona 500 last year. That’s only three fewer that this year’s “glut.”


TalkGeorge said...

You've got DW pegged...he loses credibility everytime he mentions Toyota!

I saw some "Said Head" wigs at Daytona Saturday...

I agree re-Dale Jr., the problem stems from 25 years ago, not today, plus 6 years later, he knows Dad is truly gone...

okla21fan said...

This is a reason why DEI exists in the first place, and that is because owners did not feel the need to 'give up' their ownership to even a driver with the status of Dale SR.

If JR thinks he is 'bigger' than DEI and 'deserves' a majority ownership stake, I think he is going to fins that even with his name, and even taking his sponsor with him, not many owners (if any) would agree to give up 51% of the ownership to him.

'JR Motorsports' is something the JR needs to get fully functional (ie, fielding a full time CUP ride or rides)and then he might understand the 'worth' of ownership and just how hard that is to give up.

Anonymous said...

Mikey sucks and may never make a race again. If it was not for reastrickter plate he would stil be 0 for 800 in races

Bruce E Simmons said...

I like Tony Stewart's statement, "Without Jr., DEI is a museum!" And Kevin Harvick is standing behind his statement from the previous week about Teresa Earnhardt being a deadbeat (in absentia) owner.

It was a surprise to everyone that Jr wants majority ownership, but this gives him an excellent out if he needs it. But if this does not go his way, and he does want the company, it weakens any future chance of wresting ownership from TE if he does leave. He obviously has an obtainable end goal in mind with this surprising stance he's taken, but it may not be all that surprising.

Was it coincidental that DEI hired Max Siegel 30 days prior, or did Teresa know something big was in the works? Was he hired to defend DEi, or to manage to retain Jr.?

It's been noted that Dale Jr.'s image is vital to DEI, so who's in the pickle?

The fans who are trying to figure this all out!! That's who, because my head is spinning trying to sort out what may happen.

As far as Jr understanding ownership, he fully owns Jr Motorsports these days, and it's been noted that he's dumping fundage into the company. Could this be another clue, or a great tactical chess move inspired by that brilliant sister of his?

As I say in most issues, time will tell all.

Anonymous said...

We learn from our fathers, Jr is the one taking the risks, it is his life on the line everytime he gets into the car. I think that his stepmother is doing a great job with the business end of DEI. Most of us know that when Sr was still here the racing was his. He was smart enough to let T. Handle the business and let Sr handle the race cars. Are either Jr. or T smart enough to see that. personally I would like to see the Black number 3 Bud RCR car on the track, and I think Sr would too. I lost my own father in 2001 to and somtimes you have to do your own thing. What ever Jr. decides I will still be a fan.