Hanky Panky at Hendrick?

Tom ThomasonCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2009

CONCORD, NC - OCTOBER 17:  (L-R) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates with his crew chief Chad Knaus and team owner Rick Hendrick after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 17, 2009 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The Internet has been at full speed with all the Dale Earnhardt Jr conspiracy theories lately. Mostly I just laugh and feel bad for the poor running Earnhardt.But, things have gone from sad to just ridiculous.

Bad luck is one thing. This is shaping up to be a trend. A trend that has very little to do with anything Dale Jr can control. HE has made his share of mistakes this year but, its mostly just plain so-called "bad luck".I submit to you my dear Nascar fan that nobody is that unlucky.  So it must be a CONSPIRACY!.

Last week I wrote a humor type piece about a Hendrick conspiracy and some people thought some of it sounded true. So, this week I will attempt to give some real attention to the possible tin-foil hat ideas.

Most people will tell you that Rick Hendrick is the nicest person you could ever meet. His new Hendrick "Together" movie has just come out and if you dare to suggest that he is anything but a Saint, you will suffer the wrath of many people who love him.

His new movie Is a heart- warming movie that makes you want to reach out and give Mr Hendrick a big hug at the end. But, you don't get to where he is by being a boyscout. I'm sure most of you are aware of some of the "less then legal" type dealings from Rick's past.

Most of you are also aware that Rick is a shrewd business man who doesn't lose very often. The first thing most people will ask is why would Rick do something to hold back one of his own cars. Answer; I'm not sure. But I can guess. Keeping in mind that this is all (ridiculous) theoretical conjecture, I will take a stab at it.

To be a good conspiracy theory, we have to disregard all the Hendrick is a great guy stuff and assume he is an evil twisted mastermind who fools the masses with his fake kindness and generous nature.

If we look at last year, you will remember that Jr was doing very well during the regular season. It was during the chase that he faltered. What was different last year? For one. No mark Martin. Two, they had Casey Mears to be the black sheep.

What does it matter? Well one theory is that since the recession hit,Hendrick doesn't have the resources to run four teams at full strength. So one team has to get older, inferior equipment. Last year the obvious choice was Casey Mears.

Rewind to last year and Dale Jr comes along. At first, Hendrick pours every resource he has into Jr's team. They respond with a win at the Bud shootout and run well after. Jr nation is dreaming of that elusive Championship and happy as can be.

But, maybe Hendrick starts to notice the drop-off in his other teams. Like Jeff Gordon. Gordon finished the 2008 season without a win for the first time since 1993. You could attribute that to old age in Jeff's case but, Jimmie wasn't winning at his usual pace either.

For instance, after the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Johnson had only one win last year. Compared to four wins in 2007 and three in 2006. A pretty big drop off for Nascars Michael Jordon. So Now you have Earnhardt Jr who Hendrick cant afford to lose because of the revenue he brings in but, he cant afford to hurt his best teams either.

Solution? Maybe he figured that it would be better to leave Earnhardt on the short end of the stick because he will always be the prince of Nascar. He could lose every race and still keep his sponsors. Maybe he figures he will get Jr back in the chase when the economy bounce back.

But, like I said, this is all just guess-work. What we do know is this. Earnhardt can't seem to catch a break. We also know that he can't drive two races without his car quitting on him. Which is peculiar considering this almost never happens to the other Hendrick teams.

Doesn't it seem strange to you that you almost never see Jimmie Johnson's car smoking down the backstretch. Or that you never see Jeff Gordon's Tranny fall out? Why is it I haven't seen Mark Martins brakes just suddenly quit on him at Watkins Glen?

SO there you have it all you Jr conspiracy nuts. That's the best I could come up with. Other then that, all I can say is; He'll get em next year?