I'm going to take a break from my usual blog fare to write an open letter to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., supposed driver of the number 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet Impala.
I've been a loyal fan of your family for as long as I can remember, and I write this as a concerned lifelong Earnhardt fan.
Dude, what the hell is going on? I've been watching you race in the Cup series since your rookie season, and watched you win 2 Busch series championships, and I can honestly say that who ever is driving the 88 this year ain't the guy who I watched win the Daytona 500, 5 Talledega races, and 11 other events.
Seriously, when did you decide to let the guy selling T-shirts out front of the track start driving? Are you that scared to wreck that you really forgot where on the floor board they put the gas pedal? Tonight in Richmond, if there was a record for passing the most cars while heading to the back of the pack without wrecking, you would have it. The only thing I've seen fall faster than you in a race was the anchor on the last boat I was on. I've watched you have good runs, usually in the top 5-10, only to finish somewhere behind the start and park crowd. I think the pace car actually passed and lapped you, and he spent most of the night parked on pit road.
It would be very easy to blame the crew and crew chief, but they're only as good as the guy giving them information on how the car is performing. And bud, that message ain't getting through. The best and brightest at Hendrick Motorsports are at your disposal, and it's almost like you're in your own little world, completely ignorant of what your teammates are doing and what they have to offer. Three of the best drivers in motorsports are just a phone call away and it seems they might as well not even exist.
It's really telling when guys who have a limited budget and only one car in their team, yet they can somehow manage to finish higher in the race than you can.
When Paul Menard can run better than you, and he's been said to only be able to run fast enough to get in everybody's way can finish higher than you, you've got problems.
Sounds to me like you need one of those 'Ricky Bobby' interventions. Somebody needs to show you where the gas pedal is in your car, either that or Lance McGrew needs to put a bigger one in.
Dude, if you're that scared of wrecking, just hang it up. Seriously. If all you're going to do is ride around and take up space on the track, I'm sure there are some up-and-comers in the Nationwide, Camping World Truck, or ARCA racing series who would be up for the task. At least Darrel Waltrip and Rusty Wallace knew when it was time to hang it up. Because right now, whatever it is you're doing, it ain't working.
It's gut-check time, bud. Grow a pair and find the driver (not the rider) who ran away from the pack in Texas in 2000, or just go back to your party bar in North Carolina and watch the race from the comfort and safety of your couch.
If you (or anyone else for that matter) has a problem with what I've written, tough. Take a long look in the mirror and think long and hard about who you are and what you've become. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only Earnhardt fan out there who is sorely disappointed in you and what's become of you.
My wife, who's a bigger fan of yours than I am says I'm being mean. I say it's tough love. Somebody has to say it, and it might as well be me.