Saturday, July 28, 2007

It isn't about the machinery, Earnhardt Jr. insists

Here, right from Dale Earnhardt Jr. himself, is the answer to that silly question about whether changes at Dale Earnhardt Inc. might have changed his mind about leaving that team at season’s end.

"I don’t think my decision would have been any different," he said.

"I didn’t leave because we didn’t have a seven-post machine. I didn’t leave because we didn’t have 25 CNC machines. It didn’t have anything to do with whether we were a three-, two- or four-car operation.

"In racing, you always have to progress. You can’t never sit still and everybody at DEI knows that. …The things that are happening now are great for the company. But it wouldn’t have changed my opinion."

  • Jeff Gordon has won 79 races in his Nextel Cup career, but he has no trouble picking out a favorite.

    "The Daytona 500 is our biggest event, there’s no doubt about that," Gordon said.

    "But on a personal note, I like Indy. I like the Brickyard. My biggest win, and I don’t think I’ll ever top it, was the inaugural Brickyard 400 (in 1994). It’s always going to be the biggest win for me, personally."

  • You have to give ESPN2 credit for how it rolled with the changes that weather caused to the schedule at Indianapolis on Saturday.

    The network swapped back and forth from Indianapolis Motor Speedway to O’Reilly Raceway Park during practices that wound up overlapping. It got in some coverage of National Hot Rod Association qualifying from Sonoma, Calif., then showed action from Busch and Nextel Cup qualifying from both of the Indy tracks, too.

    Nice hustle.

  • It’ll be a while before we all figure out what to actually call Yates-Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing, the team that comes out of the partnership between Robert Yates Racing and the Champ Car team that was announced here on Friday.

    It will also be a while before we fully understand what all it means, too.

    "A merger of equals is where somebody loses his job," Yates said. "This is not where anybody loses his job. This is a partnership, so we grow it. It’s like if you have a full baseball team and then you bring on nine more guys, you don’t have shortstops in between. In our business, we’re missing some of the shortstops."

    What I think that means is that Yates figures he can get some engineering help from Newman-Haas-Lanigan that will help his stock cars go faster.

    What’s in it for the Champ Car guys? Well, it gives them a foot in the NASCAR door and that might be a door some of the sponsors they work with over there want to walk through.

    Remember, Yates now has two cars sponsored by one company – M&M Mars – and that’s not going to continue forever.

  • Carl Edwards will drive with a brace on the right thumb he dislocated in a crash in a late model race in Nebraska on Sunday and expects to have no problems.

    When Edwards went to his doctor in Columbia, Mo., to have the thumb looked at and to have the brace fashioned. When he went in, he took the steering wheel off his brother’s race car in with him and had the brace built around how his hand needed to fit around it.

  • If you would, please include our friend Ray Cooper in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks.

    Coop has done the manufacturer’s notes for the media for Dodge for the past several seasons after doing the same job for Chevrolet and also covering NASCAR as a sportswriter.

    He found out last week he has cancer and started radiation treatments a few days ago. Both of his parents have been battling health issues, too, and on Saturday his father, Eugene, passed away in South Carolina.


    Anonymous said...
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    Anonymous said...

    I found it amusing that the Yates-Newman-Haas aannouncement was made in Tony George's Backyard...

    I know it's wishfull thinking on my part but can everyone just let the Junior DEI split's a done deal with no turning back...

    My thoughts and prayers to Mr. Cooper...

    Anonymous said...

    Will we see 80 something Paul Newman in a Nascar race? Just kidding...but he proves that aging is a-ok!