Number 88 Crew Chief Fired and You Are Taking His Place

Brent FarleyContributor IDecember 1, 2009

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2009 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

I believed I wrote a fair article describing why I believed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was a less than average driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  I provided an opinion but then showed how the favorite driver in NASCAR has had dismal years since his hay days of 2002 through 2004.  I realized as I researched for my article that I would waken the Jr. Nation and receive replies filled with more emotion than fact.  Some hard nosed Jr. fans rose to the top to defend their driver, as expected.

Aside from all the emotion that an article detailing Jr's woes the last five years will bring, it is a solid fact that his numbers are not what they were when he was racing in the Busch series.  It is also not smoke and mirrors when you look at his numbers while at DEI and Hendrick Motorsports.  Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has struggled.

Instead of detailing the problems Jr. has faced, such as the relationship with his stepmother and DEI or joining a new race team with the Hendrick organization, or making up excuses for a driver that has a fan base with high expectations, let's say the news hit today and said that the current crew chief, Lance McGrew met the same fate as former crew chief, Tony Eury, Jr.  He was fired.

As the Hendrick Organization searched the field for a qualified replacement, your name leaped to the top of the list.  As you relaxed on your front porch sipping an ice cold sweet tea, the phone rings.

Mr./Mrs. (put your name here), I have a phone call for you.  Mr. Hendrick of the Hendrick Organization is on the line wanting to speak to you.  A few clicks and then a voice.  Mr. Hendricks offers you a lifetime opportunity to lead the 88 team to a winning record!  (I almost said back to a winning record, but since the 88 team has never had a winning season, I refrained)

Mr. Hendrick informs you that you have top of the line equipment, and full access to the powerhouse Hendrick is known for.  You have a team of three other cars that have just finished an incredible season.  And you have a team driver that just sealed an impressive and unheard of 4th championship in a row.

The spotlight is now on you.  Teamed up with NASCAR'S most popular driver, the world of racefans is looking to you to bring top 10's, top 5's and winning to the 88 team, consecutively.

What do you do?  What changes do you make?  What do you keep the same?

I took some heat for describing what Jr. has not done in the last five years.  I took some pops at NASCAR'S famous driver and called him a less than average driver.  I highlighted the facts that 2009 was Jr's worst year.  And I even predicted that if Jr. does not pull a winning season out of 2010, he would be sitting in a different car working for a different owner.

So racefans.  Dale Earnhardt Jr diehards.  Put your racing knowledge to the test and tell the world what you would do after Mr. Hendrick hung up the phone, after offering you the dream job of a lifetime.  (Or maybe not, since Jr's record for the last five years is terrible!)

Talk to me Jr. Nation.  Maybe something you say here could actually reach Jr. and his crew chief and you could be credited with saving the career of NASCAR'S favorite driver!