Friday, February 20, 2009

Stop Crashing Into Each Other

The reigning Miss Food City is Lindsey Blevins. And even her kindly heart would be down on Dale Jr after the Daytona 500- joining the rest of the national racing press.

Junior had a very bad day. But he isn’t a “dirty” driver. He made a bad mistake at a track where if you make a mistake you wreck half the field. That is all. One can overanalyze it.

Vickers threw a block- but, let’s be honest, they all do at these plate tracks. Plate racing is getting in line and blocking people in the other line. As a matter of fact, Junior is good at the plate tracks because he is a great rear mirror driver. And they were racing for an important position created by this “lucky dog” rule; they're gonna block.

Now, a great driver, a driver with championship aspirations, drives with an eye toward a 34-race campaign, let alone another 100 laps. He backs off there. You won’t see Johnson or Martin throwing away an entire race, an entire off-season of prep because they’re real mad they were blocked and frustrated because they make moronic mistakes in the pits. But that isn't Dale. Junior is an average driver whose biggest problem is lap after lap discipline. He isn’t “dirty” but he obviously can be undisciplined, sloppy.

For a guy who generates a ton of ink and is a stone class act, Junior is a arid race car driver. He clearly has plus skills on the plate tracks- but he isn’t compelling or magnetic on the cookie cutter tracks and intermediate venues. He’s always got good gear (Truex took the second DEI car to the Chase) and good teammates/peers- and seems to have reached a ceiling of driving around in twelfth all day.

He is sort of miscast as an A-Driver on an A-Team. In an environment where he has to stand shoulder to shoulder with guys like Edwards and Kyle Busch, he is going to be an endless disappointment.

He should go to a B-level team. Take the pressure off himself. Use his grade A personal class, fan rapport and business contacts to bring resources and personnel to ramp up atwo/three car team. Drive the top effort there. Staff it with your pals. Make it fun again. Take an ownership share. One win every other year coupled with lots of good finishes on plate tracks, as well as elevating a second tier organization to top status, would have to better than this- the endless excuses, losing and disappointment.

Junior would have to give up dreams of winning a championship- but he isn’t going to ever win one anyway. He just isn’t good enough away from Daytona/Talladega

Labels: ,