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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.
Looking for the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of today’s big announcement, as well as an exclusive preview of this weekend’s race at Michigan? Then you need to sign up for the Frontstretch newsletter, pronto! It’s FREE and takes literally 30 seconds to do; click here to go to our new signup page and put yourself down for the fastest-growing NASCAR newsletter on the web.
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HAHAHAHAHA!!!! That was brilliant!
This is a great article. Anyone that thinks Kyle “asked” to be let go by Hendrick before the end of his contract is living in a Michael Jackson type of Neverland world. Like you said…he got fired!!! Plain and simple. I bet anyone a million bucks that if Junior went to Rick Hendrick next week and said “I can start driving for you tomorrow”, that Kyle would suddenly pop-up and say publically that he has decided to leave the #5 car in order to drive for Michael Waltrip ASAP. I’m starting to think he really belives what he says sometimes.
Brillant article! I enjoyed reading it. Thanks.
I now have a new favourite writer. This fills the void left when Ryan Smithson went to the PGA. I’m sure a few people would be willing to help pin Kyle’s ears back! Who grows up in Las Vegas anyway? Dealers and showgirls….
Your malice towards Kyle has gotten utterly ridiculous. What did the kid do to you to spark this kind of irrational hatred? Steal your girlfriend? Turn down a blind date with your sister?
Every credible reporter is talking about how Kyle is now the #1 free agent in Nascar. Rick Hendrick says, “There’s some unbelievable opportunities, some unbelievable money out there right now.” Team owners, whose opinions, unlike those of spite-filled internet writers, actually matter, are setting up a bidding war to secure a guy whom Ginn reportedly called a driver to build our future around.
Your snarky comments will undoubtedly bring many high 5’s and pats on the back from others who have nothing better to do with their lives than express their jealousy for a kid who has the job of their hopeless daydreams. But a little perspective and professionalism would go farther in getting you some credibility and respect.
It will be interesting to see if anyone will even want to give it a try with Kyle. He has such a reputation already from the last few years.
I was surprised that Rick Hendrick did not find a quick replacement and get rid of him after the Texas race. When he ran to the airport to leave instead of helping the crew fix the car, he showed me just what exactly he is all about and it is not trying to win the races. Sure, he has won a few races, but he has finished far more races by running into a wall or another car.
Next years Dream Team:
Gordon and Busch
Robby Gordon and Kyle Busch, Let the Wreck Fest begin :)
THIS IS MOTORSPORTS JOURNALISM AT ITS VERY BEST
Funny stuff, Jeff, BUT...
Drivers—and other employees—tend not to leave Rick Hendrick’s organization mad. I suspect that Kyle’s biggest problem right now is finding a fork-lift to get all those bags of money out to his car.
Your right Kyle can only drive into the wall….I guess that’s why he’s in the top ten.
It’s just how NASCAR works, the return on investment for JR, even if he finishes lower in points than the ROI for Kyle.
I see both sides. Kyle IS talented but should have been fired long ago. Oh, and us “Yankees” aren’t ALL stupid! I translated that ridiculous press statement all by myself
I agree with “ternhardt” who said Busch & Robby Gordon should team up! I absolutely agree… I even have a name for their new team but I can’t post it here. One hint. It begins with an “A” ends with “hole” Motorsports. Hey, at least we would know which team was operating under NO pretenses!
Loved it Meyer keep it up I laughed my ass off.
In the interest of ‘full disclosure’ I must say that I myself am a “Yankee” who was born on the ‘left coast’ many many moons ago.
Thanks for all your support everybody!
This adds a whole different take to the little incident where Jr. got in the 5 car to drive the rest of the race after Shrub deserted his beat-up car. Makes you wonder if Rick didn’t say “While we’re on the subject, why don’t you take ‘er out for a little spin and let us know what you think”.
If Shrub reached around to feel the back of his pants he’d find a wet spot. And, no, it’s not from something he sat in.
I love me some translations. (That means, posting what they really mean to say but don’t have the balls to, OR are too blind to see the truth of their own situation)
Good job on that, Jeff.
OH, and M.B. Voelker – I suggest counseling for you.
Ditto to David’s PS!! And thanks for some very informative & damn funny writing!!
Nice job Jeff
Lots of the newbies can’t see the forest for the trees… (no offense intended) They just haven’t been around long enough to “know the ropes” yet.
Those of us that have followed NASCAR for 30+ years know exactly what you are saying, and it’s nice that you can translate for folks.
When folks have been around 10 years or so,.. they’ll see you are right, and not to take everything at face value.
How’s this for… motivation?
Kyle Busch goes to DEI. Teresa, understanding how talented, yet wild Kyle is, puts a pay system in place that pays him a large extra bonus everytime he beats Junior, and an even larger bonus everytime he wins (obviously showing up all of HMS).
Finally learning the old racers adage, “In order to finish First, you first must finish,” Kyle actually grows up and starts to use his talent to his advantage.
Of course DEI would have to start supplying better racecars on a more consistent basis, but the way Truex dominated at Dover, it looks like DEI is capable of doing it.
One of the problems in CUP these days, is that driver compensation is not tied closely enough to results. You can’t pay Millions of Dollars to drivers who go out and destroy your cars all the time.
Did anyone notice that when Mark Martin drove Kyle’s #5 BGN car, he brought it home in second place without a scratch on it?
That would be a “Hoot” for Teresa if Kyle, in a DEI car, could regularly beat Dale Jr. in a HMS car. The saga continues.
Great article – I’m still laughing!
I meet kids like Kyle everyday – they think they know it all, but underneath they’re still trying to figure it all out. One can only hope Kyle will get the chance to show us what he really can do – when he grows up a bit!
Great post, M. B. Voelker!
Kyle has a real racecar driver’s job. Will Jeff ever have a real journalist’s job?
Things that make you go “hmm”.
Hey, it’s easy to kick a man while he’s down. To be sure, Kyle Busch has not made himself popular with his attitude, nor has he made Hendrick too pleased having to put pieces of his car in the back of a pickup every weekend. Nevertheless, what were YOU doing when you were eighteen years of age, and how mature were you at 21? Busch has massive talent, so he will not have any trouble finding a competitive ride. I would imagine it’s quite difficult to race for Hendrick, knowing you are the third wheel in a team comprised of the likes of Gordon and JJ. Kyle Busch will do just fine, and when you see him start to win races, you will know that he has found the solutions to his current problems. Like him or not, he will be a force in this sport. All he needs is the patience and knowledge to know when to do what and where.
Had to laugh at some of the comments. Kyle has had this coming for a while now. How many times does a car owner have to apologize to the sponsors and other car owners for a drivers behaviour on and off the track? His comments about his equipment got him fired not to mention the attitude he has.
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?
Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.