The Curse of the 25 Car Is a Myth!

Clayton CaldwellCorrespondent IMay 18, 2009

5 Aug 2001:  Jerry Nadeau #25 who drives the Chevy Monte Carlo for Hendricks Motorsports in action during the Brickyard 400, part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.Mandatory Credit: Robert Leberge  /Allsport

The curse of the 25 is just another curse to explain the troubles of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

During the 1986 season Tim Richmond dominated the sport. He had seven wins and finished third in the point standings. A sickness later to be determined as AIDS would limit Richmond to only eight starts in 1987. He had two wins in those eight starts.

The 25 car had nine wins under Richmond. However, since 1988 the 25 has only nine wins total. People, basically Jr. nation, say that the 25 car is cursed.

However, look at the drivers the 25 has had. All due respect to Ken Schrader, but he threw a lot of wins away from 1991 to 1996. In 1997, Rick Hendrick hired a youngster from Maine named Ricky Craven. However, injuries would plague Craven's 1997 season, and in the middle of 1998, Rick Hendrick hired Wally Dallenbach Jr. to drive the No. 50 for NASCAR's 50th anniversary.

Wally Dallenbach, people—a man who failed, with Jack Roush and Richard Petty, to win a race, and in 1999 Dallenbach only had six top tens with Rick Hendrick.

In 2000, Rick Hendrick hired a young hotshot driver from Connecticut. No, not Joey Logano, but a young man by the name of Jerry Nadeau. Nadeau would win in his first season with Hendrick at the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2000. Nadeau finished 17th in points, six positions ahead of teammate Terry Labonte.  

It was the lone highlight of a dismal season as Nadeau struggled. However, in 2001 Nadeau would fare a lot better and get 10 top tens in 33 starts. In 2002, Hendrick would fire Nadeau after 11 races and hire a man from Florida named Joe Nemechek.

Nemechek's time at Hendrick would be short-lived. He would win a rain-shortened race at Richmond and get fired with four races to go in the 2003 season.

Replacing Nemechek was Busch Series champion Brian Vickers. Vickers was 20 years old in a premier ride. Vickers' first year learning the ranks was not good, but for 20 years old, how can you blame him?

His second year was a little better; he would have 10 top tens and finish 17th in points. During his third year he would finish 15th in points and win at Talladega, but he would lose his ride to Casey Mears in 2007.

Mears had a fine year in the 25 car in his first season at Hendrick. He won the Coca-Cola 600 and ended up 15th in the points. One more year and maybe Mears would have done better.

With all due respect to Ken Schrader, Ricky Craven, Wally Dallenbach, Jerry Nadeau, Joe Nemechek, Brian Vickers, and Casey Mears, they have combined for just 14 wins in their careers.

So is there a curse of the 25, or is it just the drivers in the 25 that are not that good? If Jeff Gordon was in the 25, would it be cursed?

No way.

Not only that, but when I was growing up, I don't remember anything about a "curse of the 25 car." I think we all understood the drivers in the 25 car just were not that good.

It's funny how now that Dale Jr. stinks in the 25 car this curse just happens to come out.

When Casey Mears was struggling, there was no curse even mentioned. Now the media and NASCAR need an excuse, so there's a curse all of a sudden.

The 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports has been the best this season. If you take away the blown engine and blown tire, that car would be running away with the points lead. That car has only won six races in the last five years since Terry Labonte left. They have won two of 11 races this season.

Why? Because there is a great driver in the car named Mark Martin.

Since Richard Petty left the 43 car, they have had only two wins. There's no mention of the curse of the 43 car. No one cares about Reed Sorenson, so there's no mention of a curse.

Now all of a sudden there is a curse. There was no mention of a curse when Jr. came over to Hendrick Motorsports; no one mentioned it. All people heard was how Jr. was going to dominate the sport with the best owner in the sport.

Now, that's not happening.

Jr. Nation is running out of excuses, so let's create a curse. What's next, the curse of a green car?

Ask Harry Gant and Bobby Labonte about that.