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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Earnhardt shows signs his focus will be on winning in 2010

As the drivers who did well in 2009 celebrated this weekend in Vegas, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was nowhere to be found in that list of top drivers.

But based on news that came out this week regarding the Danica Patrick situation, I get the impression that Jr. has the right mindset as he looks forward to 2010.

Asked about the Patrick situation, he told reporters that his sister Kelley is handling those negotiations with Patrick, and he is not involved in any way with the talks. Also, he announced this week that Kelley and his cousin Tony Eury Jr. have been given ownership stakes in his Nationwide team, which is already co-owned by Rick Hendrick.

So reading between the lines, what does all this mean? It gives me the impression that Jr. is ready to put aside all distractions and focus on improving his finishes in his Cup ride. By letting Kelley handle all of the Danica nonsense, which would be an unnecessary distraction for Jr., and giving his sister and his cousin/former crew chief more power to run the show at JR Motorsports, the distractions start to fall away from Jr.’s life and he can focus on gelling with his team, getting ready to compete for wins in 2010 and avoiding a repeat of his disastrous 2009.

Sure, he’ll still have to do sponsor appearances and commercials -- it goes with the territory of being Dale Jr. Beyond that, though, he needs to devote his time to doing whatever it takes to get back to the level he was at 5 years ago, when he was contending for races and winning them on a regular basis.

His comments this week give me the impression that he is willing to make the changes necessary for that to happen.

What banquet?
I have to admit, I completely forgot about the Cup banquet in Vegas Friday night. I’ll catch up via the Internet, but I’m pretty sure that I missed nothing but a three-hour suck-up festival where everyone talked about how great Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick are for NASCAR.
If I had watched, I’m pretty sure I would have needed a vomit bag to get through it all.

I heard all year how great Johnson is, and even wrote those words myself many times. I’m not sure why I would want to hear it again for three hours. No thanks, I’ll settle for a highlight reel of the event … and I’m pretty sure the highlight will be to see what Connie Montoya is wearing.


Anonymous dawg said...

Jr nation is digging deep to find signs that he will perform better in 2010.

December 6, 2009 at 3:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has not worked out for Jr. at HMS, for what ever reason. 2 years is a more than fair trial. It is obvious to everyone that this is not working. Dale Jr. needs to be freed from HMS. RCR stepped up his game and fielded 4 competitive cars. HMS, for all of their vaunted resources and depth can't. DEI's Jeff, said that they would welcome Jr. back with open arms. I am sure that he could be more competitive there! Surely Chevy would like to see Jr. run competitively again. They have to realize that this isn't working out at HMS and want to see him out front selling Chevys for them again.
In 2007 in F1, Alonso moved to Mc Laren. It became apparent by summer that the role FA had envisioned for himself, the 1st driver, when he signed the contract, was different from the one Ron Dennis saw, 2nd to Hamilton. RD realized that this is not what FA had signed the contract for and that he was not being fair to FA and was able to man-up and and gentleman enough, fair enough, to let FA go after only 1 year on his contract. Hopefully RH can rise to the same standard. Marybeth

December 6, 2009 at 4:13 PM 

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