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The Daly Planet

Inside Ed's Head

The Universe in Shambles
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By Eddie Laub | 02/05/2015
Category: Inside Ed's Head

I grew up a Bill Elliott fan. The first race I ever saw on tv was the 1985 Southern 500,  where the mystique grew from  Bill Elliott into "Awesome Bill From Dawsonville."  The first race I ever attended in person was the 1988 Phoenix race, where Awesome Bill was crowned series champ a week later.  I have his autograph. I have pictures of me next to his car. I have a picture next to his 1988 Winston Cup.  I have posters. I have met him. I have shaken his hand. I loved Ford, because he drove one on Sundays.  I have Ford stuff everywhere. My dad (both parents being Earnhardt, Sr fans,) and I argued constantly: Earnhardt vs Elliott; Ford vs Chevy; chores vs grounding...

All was good and right in the universe.

Then came the year 2000 and  Ray Evernham. Awesome Bill hadn't been so awesome in recent years, and Ray was starting a new team for the 2001 season- with Dodge.  Dodge.  Not Ford.  Not Mercury. Not even Lincoln. Dodge.  

With this news, the ripples throughout the galaxy were minor, and during the Dodge years, Bill approached "Awesome" status again, although, he never quite reachieved the 'Awesome' status that had by this point been stolen away by some snot-nosed, sometimes-mustached, punk kid named 'The Rainbow Warrior,' who had taken much of the awesomeness in the sport and was hogging it all to himself.

After the Dodge years, Bill drove for some various teams- most notably the Wood Brothers, who, of course, run Fords.  One could almost hear the universe smiling down on us all during that time. It was a beautiful feeling.  Smiles were everywhere. and gas was cheap.
Then Michael Waltrip wanted to start his own team, and had Bill run some races for him in preparation for the 2007 season, and since Toyota wasn't quite yet NASCAR legal, he and Bill ran some races in a Burger King Chevy.  I had gotten used to Elliott not being in a Ford because of the Dodge years, but driving a Chevy was over the top.  I didn't know what to expect.  The universe would surely be knocked off kilter by this...

Surprisingly, the universe survived.  And Elliott drove the Chevy. I started to, and don't tell my father, but I had started to become a fan of the bowtie myself.

Several years later, and along comes a dashing young lad by the name of Chase Elliott.  He impresses some folks and he signs a deal not only with Chevy: but also with Dale Earnhardt Jr's JR Motorsports.  

An Elliott driving for an Earnhardt???  For real???  The intense rivalry that the fathers of these two surely had to have some sort of affect upon their upbringings, right???  How can this be?  How can this be allowed?  How...  just how?

I was certain the universe would implode.  How could it not?  This wasn't supposed to happen!  This is not what Cup fans of the 80's (especially those who still have dreams of the so-called 'Pass in the Grass') would ever expect!  Say it ain't so!

But yet again, the universe survived just fine.  I'm not sure how, but it did.   No planets out of orbit.  No earth shattering ka-booms. I wonder if this Elliott driving for an Earnhardt business could be why Pluto lost it's planetary status... hmm.

Come back with me, now, to the current time. 

Last year Rick Hendrick announced that Chase would run some Cup races in 2015 for Hendrick Motorsports, while still driving the XFinity Series for JR Motorsports.   I am ok with this.  The universe had made it this far, so this was going to be ok.  Chevy, Earnhardt, Hendrick.  All was good.

But now????

Chase Elliott is going to run the #24 in 2016???   




02/05/2015 10:35 am (1)
There may be a solar flare or two but I doubt the universe will do little other than shrug.

I think if the Universe was predisposed to serious upheaval it would have happened back when Darrell Waltrip drove briefly for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (in the #1 car, subbing for injured Steve Park) during the midst of the "Tabasco Fiasco" in 1998.
Bill B
02/05/2015 4:54 pm (2)
Nice read. Funny how things like that happen.
I'm with Dataman, the universe will be fine.
02/06/2015 12:33 pm (3)
Funny! One thing that does make sense to me on the pairing of Jr. and Chase: both are sons of very famous and successful racers. With all that Jr. has been through and had to learn to handle (inheriting the hopes and dreams of dad's fans) who better to help steer chase? One other note: it's been fun for me to watch Jr. the last 2 or 3 years transition into a sort of mentor figure for lots of the younger drivers he's had in his Nationwide cars.
Greg in Dallas
02/06/2015 1:00 pm (4)
Fun read, and a nice little stroll down memory lane. Thanks.

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