After finishing 2nd in the 2010 Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 32nd at California, many laps down from the leader.
I have purposely not read the message boards. I’ve not even read most of my e-mail, because I really don’t want to prejudice my opinion because of what other Dale Jr. fans say.
What I saw on Sunday was a driver with an ill handling car, who broke his left axle on a pit stop, and the pit crew wasn’t ready to deal with it. During qualifying on Friday, I saw a guy with a fast car but no brakes, and that basically screwed his attempt to get a good starting position. What the heck is going on with the guy that’s supposed to be getting major attention by the engineers, and the owner of the car, Rick Hendrick?
Crew chief Lance McGrew was very vocal about it, even over the radio on Sunday. Not being ready to go with a replacement axle was a huge mistake. Broken axles are not very common during a race, but it is a part that can be replaced on pit road, and apparently, the 88 crew wasn’t ready to deal with that particular circumstance.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. made the switch to Hendrick to run with the best equipment, the best possible personnel, and win races and championships. What’s wrong here? Seriously, I want you to tell me. Has the driver just forgotten how to drive? Is there a mismatch in crew chiefs? Do they need to fire them all and start all over again?
Let me know what you think. Your guess is at least as good as mine. For a driver like Dale Earnhardt Jr., this is not going to work. This situation has to improve drastically.