Friday, June 15, 2007

Junior's Jump

I haven't looked very hard, so I'm sure there's been commentary about Dale Jr.'s move to Hendricks Motorsports that's less convincing than this piece by Matt Crossman, but, I have to say, I think he's trying to make a controversy were none need exist. I understand why: an opinion piece that suggested that things will probably turn out just fine might be a little boring. However, some of Matt's points are just plain wrong. For instance, he writes that:
All the best drivers are obsessed with success and winning. Put too many guys like that together, and they inevitably will butt heads. And by too many I mean more than one.
At some point in the near future, Rick Hendrick will have to deal with the fallout. And even the deftest touch won't solve this issue.
A lot of analysts look to other sports, so let's go there. The closest comparison is Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter being teammates with the Yankees. There was tension immediately surrounding who would play short and who would play third. Their tenure as teammates has not been successful.

But as my Yankee-fan friend Nick pointed out in an e-mail to me: "A-ROD won an MVP playing with Jeter and Jeter almost won one last year. They're both playing great this year...the Yankees have finished 1st each of their seasons together. How is that not successful?"

Another point against Matt is that the #5 team is already a strong team. They aren't going to need to pull resources away from the #48 team in order to get up to speed. This is why it makes sense to me that they'd put Junior in the #5 car and not the #25 car, even though Casey Mears seems to me to be the weakest link among the Hendricks drivers.

Now, if Dale Jr. wasn't Dale Jr. - that is if he was just a driver with 17 wins over tktk years, with no championships, who has had to struggle to make it into the Chase - then maybe I'd question trading away Kyle Busch. After all, Kyle has been pretty strong this season and it seems like all he needs is a little mentorship and a little growing up before he'll be a genuine championship contender.

On the other hand, I can see how replacing a hot-head like him with someone like Dale Jr. - who's a pretty steady and stable (not to mention humble) guy on the track - might be a really good thing.

But since Dale Jr. is Dale Jr., this is really a no-brainer.

My favorite part: I want to see all of the Jr.-lovin'-Gordon-haters' heads explode when they're no longer able to talk shit about Hendricks.

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