June 20, 2012
By Chuck Abrams
It was simply a matter of time.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finally won another race and all is well with the world again.
And he did it at Michigan, the scene of his last win in 2008. But for Junior, it was business as usual. Instead of acting like a fool, Junior seemed almost like he had been in Victory Lane just last week.
Maybe it was because the No. 88 team knew that they had it in them. Junior has more top 10 finishes than anyone else in the Cup Series this year and had two wins slip from his grasp last year. Steve Letarte has made a lot of good calls from the top of the pit box to keep Junior in position to win and has helped the team give Junior the stuff he needs week in and week out. Now it is hard to imagine that he can’t get another win this year.
To all the Earnhardt Haters out there: seeing Junior win again is what the sport needs and may help stymie it’s decline in attendance and ratings. For all the other drivers’ bluster and headlines, Junior is NASCAR's most popular driver and the closest thing it has to a throwback driver.
Junior is the sole remaining member of NASCAR royalty that is still racing. Add in the fact that he is always respectful of the media, not saying he never has some fun with the media, and you have a driver that dang near everyone loves. Outside of Earnhardt Haters. The young man is a class act and NASCAR needs drivers like that to counter the drivers who seem to thrive on negativity.
So the sun rose again this morning as it always does. Maybe the birds sounded a bit sharper and the sun shown a bit brighter, but the rest of the world continued as it does every day. Just another driver winning another race is the way Tony Stewart saw it.
And while all that was going on, Kurt Busch returned to the track and picked up right where he left off. After placing in the top-five in the Nationwide race, he was obligated to attend the media center Q&A. But Kurt had other ideas. After leaving the room, he invited ESPN's Marty Smith and his camera crew over to conduct an interview. Or that is what the ESPN crew thought. Busch asked Smith just what he thought he was doing, Smith replied that he thought they were conducting an interview since Busch invited him over.
Busch allegedly replied, “Haven’t you ever heard of sarcasm?”
Evidently Busch doesn’t know how to employ sarcasm. Smith had just written a piece about Busch’s team support for ESPN, he mentioned that to Kurt and replied, “I don’t need the help.”
Sounds like someone still has a case of sour grapes and did not really learn anything from his one race suspension or his “come to Jesus” talk with James Finch. Indeed, Kurt wound up spinning his car out twice on Sunday finishing 30th and six laps down. That should tell Kurt just where his stock in NASCAR is at this point. He had better get used to his top-ten finishes in the Nationwide Series because that is where he is likely to end up in 2013 if he doesn’t clean up his act.
In lighter news, GoDaddy.com has announced that they are looking to their ad agency to change up their marketing message. I guess we will no longer get “online content unrated” commercials featuring Danica Patrick in showers or bikinis. Thanks goodness. Those commercials absolutely suck and do nothing to promote women in a good light or good racing. The sooner that junk is off the air the better.
Now the Sprint Cup teams head to Sonoma and the land of turn-left and right. It will be a place for the No. 88 team to show just how far they have improved since road courses are not one of Earnhardt’s strength. Other drvers looking for a lift are Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.
Mechanical issues and so-so finishes have been plaguing these guys and all are in need of a good finish to elevate their chances to make the Chase.
Those are my thoughts, let me know yours!
Drive fast, turn left and keep the shiny side up.
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.