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The Daly Planet

I Was Just Wonderin'...

Jeff Gordon Morphing into Evel Knievel?
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By Carol Einarsson | 09/21/2012
Category: I Was Just Wonderin'...

What a way to kick off race weekend! On Tuesday, a husband and his very pregnant wife were driving to the hospital and it became clear she wasn't going to make it all the way there before giving birth, so where did they stop? New Hampshire Motor Speedway, of course! Baby Katie is the first ever born at the speedway, and has been given two life-time tickets to races at NHMS. I wonder if the track will be kind enough to throw in a third so she can come with BOTH of her parents at least for a few years.

Jimmie and Chandra Johnson wrote a book about living through last year's Chase. The PR says, "The book was self-published by the Johnsons and packaged for publication by designer Mark Pollard. A gallery showing of select prints will take place Oct. 13-20 in Charlotte, N.C." Oddly, there's no word on where or how to purchase the book, but my guess is you'd better be sitting down when you find out the price. "Packaged for publication" by a designer??

So now that Kyle Busch failed to make The Chase, he already shoved his brother out of the Nationwide race for Chicago, and his website lists him as the driver for the rest of the year except for at Kentucky. When asked in what races he would or wouldn't compete, his answer was, "We're playing it by ear, seeing what Kurt wants to do." So if Kurt says, "I'd really kinda like to race all those races you said I could," will Kyle simply say okay? Yeah, doubtful. Don't mistake this for sympathy, but it's gotta suck for an older brother and former Cup champion to now be at the mercy of his younger twerp brother. In some circles, I think they call that Karma.

How 'bout that class act, Roger Penske willing to rehire AJ? One thing that I did believe in the weeks leading up to Allmendinger finally entering the treatment program is that he was deeply sorry at having disappointed The Captain. And to have Penske supporting AJ the way he is, I bet that goes a long way towards fixing the boy. Okay, and no doubt Penske is happy to be a father figure to at least one man that doesn't get arrested for peeing on women.

Oh, and the "Most Popular Driver" finalists were announced last week. Biggest question here is obviously, "Why?" And in case you want to know the names of the finalists that won't win, they are Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, and Kyle Busch.

I was surprised when Pops Eury split with JR Motorsports, but when Tony Jr was pushed out the door, shocked! Remember when JR Motorsports was set up to make sure Dale Jr could take care of his family? This, to me, just sounds very, very sad. No idea what's going on, but it sounds like there's been a turn, and now it's just business.

First Jeff Gordon promised to grow his mustache back if he made The Chase...and then he made The Chase. Now he's got a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paint scheme for the weekend, and he's promised to break-dance if he wins. I'm wondering, has this become an official superstition for Jeff Gordon? Promise to do something crazy if you win, and then you win? If he's successful, what will he have to promise NEXT week? And is he going to turn into Evel Knievel before the end of the year??

The bunny is back on the #42 car this weekend. It's too bad Energizer doesn't use the same marketing as the Madagascar movie, or else we might get to see Juan Pablo dressed up in a pink bunny suit!



Bill B
09/21/2012 6:13 am (1)
The Captain said hypothetically he would hire Allmendinger from the way I read the quote. I don't see any actual job offer though.

I think Kyle is hoping to whoop up on some NW drivers to prop up his ego for missing the chase.

Yes, it's starting to look the same way at JR Motorsports as it did at DEI before Jr split.

As for crazy promises, if that's what it takes to win then go for it.
09/21/2012 9:44 am (2)
I have seen Jeff break dance and he is actually pretty good (not great) at it.

Greg in Dallas
09/21/2012 1:07 pm (3)
regarding JRM, it sounds like a combination of poor performance leading to business problems and then a dash of differing philosophies on how to resolve the problem.

If the "main" owner (Junior) is determined to keep his little corner of the Nationwide series in a "driver development" role for new talent... and Pops (for sure) and Tony Jr (maybe?) both want to hire a cup driver to "fix" their problems, then that's not gonna work.

Sad to see, but you can't be on pages that fundamentally different, and keep putting black ink in the ledger. I hope the team makes it work, and I'm sure Pops and Jr. Eury will continue to be as busy as they desire.
09/21/2012 1:43 pm (4)
@ Bill B:

Well, the hypothetical is at least a strong statement to other car owners (and sponsors) of Allmendinger's fitness. There are very few folk in motorsports, from F1 down, who don't respect Penske's opinion.

09/21/2012 3:04 pm (5)
Or...Has Baby Katie has been consigned to a lifetime of complaining about the traffic and parking at NHMS?

I'm sure that Roger Penske is supportive of A.J. Allmendinger, at least in public. After all, he hired 'Dinger in the first place; casting him to the wolves would be to admit he made a mistake in that regard. I don't see him actually hiring Allmendinger back, at least in a Cup ride, but it was a letter of recommendation of sorts to any team that would like to.

I really hope somebody does, but it'll take A.J. a long time to get back to a top-tier team, at least in Sprint Cup. In IndyCar, he'd do a lot better, of course, but considering that a start-and-park NSCS ride pays better than a top open-wheel team at this point....

Dale Earnhardt Jr., sad to say, is starting to figure it out: family is family, but business is business. If JR Motorsports is to survive, they need results. Maybe the Eurys could have been more successful if given enough resources and, oh, I dunno, drivers with a record of winning races. But, here we are. In this business, if you can't fire the driver, you fire the crew chief. So, that's what happened.

Jeff Gordon growing his mustache back probably sounded like a good idea, until he looked in the mirror and saw all the grey hairs in it. It's tough on this side of 40, ain't it?

At this point, if JPM believed he could win by donning a bunny suit, I think he would in a heartbeat. He still couldn't look worse in Victory Lane than Jimmie Johnson did at Dover.

So...IndyCars at Pocono, eh??? Not sure how I feel about that.
Bill B
09/21/2012 3:47 pm (6)
It's hard to say. I have seen so many people in business force someone out or more or less insinuate "quit or be fired" that I am skeptical. How many times have we heard someone leave a team and it's always presented as a PC statement "John Doe has been will be replaced. John Doe and I sat down and mutually decided to go our separate ways. We thank John Doe for all he brought to our company and we wish John Doe the best of luck". You just know that's a load of crap most of the time. Very few people leave a great paying job without a new one lined up voluntarily.
I will think differently when I see Penske offer him a ride. Any ride.
09/21/2012 4:32 pm (7)
After reading the aticles and Jr's comments on the "letting go" of his Uncle and cousin.... it appears to me that there is a difference of opinion in terms of what direction to take the company. Kind of an old school (The Eury's) vs new school (HMS).

Jr made a few standout comments, and one was that HMS has made their technology available to JRM, but it is not being utilized.

Family is so hard to work with.... I hope the family can put aside the business side and still get along.

As for Jeff and the break dancing... we have seen that before.... lol At least JG is keeping things light and fun. I hope he can rebound this week!

09/21/2012 5:12 pm (8)
Indy cars at Pocono would be great racing, much like how they have better racing at IMS than Cup does, thanks to their extra downforce.

I'm starting to think that maybe Jeff Gordon is a sort of reverse Samson. Remember how many cars he tore up his first year, and now that he's grown the 'stache back, he wrecks hard his first time out. It's like the 'stache saps his ability to drive...
09/21/2012 5:51 pm (9)
I was surprised when Pops Eury split with JR Motorsports, but when Tony Jr was pushed out the door, shocked! Remember when JR Motorsports was set up to make sure Dale Jr could take care of his family? This, to me, just sounds very, very sad. No idea what's going on, but it sounds like there's been a turn, and now it's just business.

Carol, my only surprise is that TE Jr. lasted this long as Danica's crew chief. My guess is that the organization had to find a scape goat for her performing so badly that they axed the director of competition and her crew chief. got to keep those sponsors happy. I don't think it was an issue with the equipment (the wrecked cars might say otherwise) but the lack of performance of two drivers that most likely shouldn't have been in the series full time. But money talks and BS walks.

But as you said, there is more to this story than meets the eye.
09/24/2012 2:12 pm (10)
@ giluvracing:

You mention Penske hired Allmendinger, but Penske also hired Mayfield, and he didn't speak up in support of Mayfield. That's why I think his chosing to say something is significant.

As for Indycars at Pocono, they ran there in the 70's and 80's. Dr Mattioli dropped the series when the CART leadership made it clear they intended to emphasize street and road courses in preference to oval tracks. I'm not sure why the track didn't resume running Indycars when the IRL was formed. The Indycars put on a pretty good show back in 70's; as rdfox says with their downforce (and general lack of aero-sensitivity) the track is well-suited to them.


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