Thursday, June 14, 2007
Hendrick a good fit for Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt Jr. already had made his best decision when he announced he was leaving DEI at the end of this year. He announced his second-best decision Wednesday.
Earnhardt will drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, replacing Kyle Busch, who has been let out of his contract. Hendrick cars have won 10 of 14 Nextel Cup races this year.
The company with the two best drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, will add the sport's most popular driver in 2008.
This is a win-win situation. Hendrick adds to the appeal of its stable of drivers, which also includes recent winner Casey Mears.
And Earnhardt avoids the headache of ownership that he sought at DEI or might have had as part of a new start-up organization.
Had Earnhardt chosen to drive for Childress Racing, where his father earned six of his seven championships, the inevitable comparisons of father and son would have been magnified beyond what they already are.
Earnhardt didn't need that.
Now he can simply do what he loves. He can get in a strong race car, the best that can be built, and drive.
When Earnhardt jumped into the 5 car and drove a few final laps at Texas Motor Speedway after Busch could not be found, we had no idea it was a preview of things to come.
But I remember how happy Earnhardt was climbing out of that car. And on Wednesday, he looked every bit as happy and relieved to know he would be climbing into it on a regular basis in 2008.