Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday June 13, 2007
“We had been working on a contract extension for me to remain at Hendrick Motorsports, but after prolonged negotiations, we mutually agreed that a fresh start was in order. I have been granted a release after the 2007 season. I have tremendous respect for Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s where I grew up, and I have a lot of great memories. I kind of feel like I’m graduating. I’m excited about my future, and I know a lot of opportunities await because of what everyone at Hendrick did for me – on the track and off. I still have a job to do this year, and will give it my all – just as I’ve always done – to make sure we put the No. 5 car in Victory Lane a few more times before the year is out.”
That was Kyle Busch's statement after the Wednesday announcement that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would be joining the Hendrick Motorsports stable, all while he was put out to pasture.
I wonder if what just happened has really sunk in yet?
One of the major problems with NASCAR, now that it is no longer a "southern, good ol’ boy" sport, is that all these damn Yankees and foreigners (left coast types) talk like politicians. You need to have things translated for you, but not in the same sense as when you didn't know what the ol’ southern boys were saying. At least back then, they used descriptive adjectives of farm animals and implements to describe their car that gave the listener a small glimmer of understanding, if not frightening, mental pictures. No, these new NASCAR types say exactly the opposite of what they mean…so the following is my translation of Kyle's statement.
What Kyle said: “We had been working on a contract extension for me to remain at Hendrick Motorsports, but after prolonged negotiations, we mutually agreed that a fresh start was in order.”
Translation: Kyle wanted Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson-style money. Rick laughed and reminded Kyle that their handsome salaries were, in some quirky way, directly related to their handsome good looks. (No, I'm not suggesting I want to make a cowboy movie with them). Rick then handed Kyle a small mirror and said that his salary was also related in the same way.
Kyle said: "I have been granted a release after the 2007 season."
Translation: That was the easiest way to tell his mother that he just got fired. Now, he plans to ask his big brother what the name of that plastic surgeon was again. "Thank you, sir, may I have another!?" comes to my mind for some silly reason.
Kyle said: "I have tremendous respect for Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports."
Translation: Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, down to the new kid who sweeps the shop for free, can probably kick his butt, and he has probably belittled them all at some point during his tenure there. Now, he is fair game.
Kyle said: "It’s where I grew up, and I have a lot of great memories."
Translation: Memories of what?! Everybody telling him to "grow up?!" Obviously, he does not remember that he hasn't yet. He's only been able to legally have a beer with the rest of the team for just over a year now.
Kyle said: "I kind of feel like I’m graduating."
Translation: Excuse me, Kyle. You just got fired from THE primo team in the sport at the moment. You didn't graduate; you flunked. See any streamers, Kyle? Ain't no party for flunking.
Kyle said: "I’m excited about my future, and I know a lot of opportunities await because of what everyone at Hendrick did for me – on the track and off."
Translation: I'm scared to death, but at least Junior said he would give me a letter of recommendation and set up a meeting with his loving stepmother.
Kyle said: "I still have a job to do this year, and will give it my all."
Translation: I teased my big brother awhile back about having to sit out the remainder of the year, and I'll be damned if I'll give HMS the satisfaction of doing that to me. I'll just suck it up and do what I'm told. Mr. Hendrick, will you introduce me to the kid who sweeps the shop so I can ask him where the brooms are?
Kyle said: "â€¦just as I’ve always done – to make sure we put the No. 5 car in victory lane a few more times before the year is out.”
Translation: I will try to put No. 5 car in Victory Lane instead of the wall, just as I've always done.
End of translation. Thank you all for coming.
Stay off the wall,
(and emails pointing out my irrational Busch hating may begin now)
For more on Junior’s side of the story, please click here for Frontstretch columnist Mike Neff’s exclusive report from JR. Motorsports in Mooresville on the heels of this landmark announcement.
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