Sunday, February 1, 2009

Negative Feelings (And what you can do with them)

How's it looking for your driver this year?  Do you hope he wins it all or are you hoping that he loses just to prove a point?

Say your driver is Jeff Gordon.  Do you dislike Steve Letarte to the point that you hope your driver loses again just to prove your point about Steve?  Or say you're a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan.  Do you want Dale to lose to prove your point about Tony Eury Jr. being his crew chief?  It would seem like there is a lot of this type of sentiment going around in 2009.

Personally, I've never been a fan of either Jimmie Johnson or Chad Knaus, but they seem to have a winning combination together, let's make that 3 years so far.  Your 2006, 2007, and now 2008 champion have been not only Jimmie Johnson, but also Chad Knaus, because he's been integral in every one of those race wins, and every one of those championships.  Without one, you could not have had the other.  Facts are part of life, folks.   Jimmie and Chad have indeed won three championships in a row.

Love Jeff Gordon or hate him.  It doesn't matter to me.  His crew chief right now is Steve Letarte, and without Steve, Jeff will win exactly nothing.  Oh, he's already done that, you may say?  Sure he has.  In 2008, Jeff Gordon was completely victory free for the first time since he started racing in the Cup series.  Does the fact that Jeff Gordon didn't win a race in all of 2008 make him fire his crew chief?  Not so far.

Relationships between drivers and crew chiefs are difficult to explain.  Take my driver, for instance.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. barely won at Michigan last year.  His crew chief is Tony Eury Jr., who also happens to be Dale's cousin.  Tony Eury Jr. has said that he doesn't read much stuff on the internet, because it basically pollutes his mind when it comes to racing.  Tony Jr. is 100 per cent dedicated to being Dale Jr.'s crew chief, and Dale seems to be 100 per cent committed to having Tony Jr. on top of the pit box on Sundays.  We as fans have many ways to voice our opinions, but drivers can only go so far in that realm.  Crew chiefs have even fewer outlets, if they want to remain sane.

I believe that in 2009, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the real deal.  He wants to win races.  He wants to win the Cup.  His chosen crew chief is Tony Eury Jr.  No one is better qualified to make the call as to who sits on top of the 88 team's pit box in 2009 than Dale Earnhardt Jr.  If Dale says it will be Tony Eury, Jr, then who am I to argue with that decision?  I'm a fan, just like you.  I have no say in making that decision.

So, as one fan to another, I say sit down, shut up, buckle in, and let's get ready to have a ride in 2009.  Voice your opinions all you want to, but don't expect your driver to change his mind because of your opinion.  If you were that smart in the first place, Rick Hendrick, Chip Ganassi, Richard Childress, Jack Roush or a host of other owners would have hired you long before now, and you wouldn't have time to be reading this.

Buckle up and get ready, because here we go.

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