The Frontstretch: Kyle vs. Junior : Junior Is Still The Better Deal by Tommy Thompson -- Wednesday May 28, 2008

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Kyle vs. Junior : Junior Is Still The Better Deal

Thompson In Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Wednesday May 28, 2008


There is no end in sight to the comparisons between the racing careers of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kyle Busch, the driver he replaced this season at what has been NASCAR’s premier racing organization: Hendrick Motorsports. And replace Kyle Busch at HMS, Junior absolutely did. Make no mistake about it; had Rick Hendrick not had an opportunity to sign NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver, there really would not have been any “room at the inn” for anyone else. But as a result of Dale Jr.‘s free agency, Busch was forced out of HMS, and eventually signed on with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2008 season and beyond.

Even though both parties have stated otherwise, you can bet that any supposed “communication” problems that existed between Busch’s contract negotiating team and HMS would have been quickly resolved under different circumstances. Rick Hendrick fully understood the great potential that this youngster possessed; after all, he had gone to great lengths to lure Busch away from Roush Racing when Busch turned 18 years old. But when Junior became available, Hendrick simply weighed the pros and cons of the two drivers and made what he thought was a “no brainer” of a business decision – a decision that had, on one hand, a driver with a lot of potential to generate revenue compared against another driver with a proven track record of being able to bring in the cash. In the end, it was Junior that got signed… while Kyle was sent packing down the road.

But tremendous potential aside, no one — including Joe Gibbs — could have truly predicted the phenomenal start that Busch has had to the 2008 season. Presently leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings while scoring three wins along the way, he also has another six victories between NASCAR’s two other top divisions, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck. Busch, who has given himself the nickname “Rowdy,” is by far the hottest race car driver in recent memory. But are those results leaving Hendrick wishing he could take this youngster back?

Probably not.

At this point, a purely side-by-side comparison of the on-track results between these two drivers would suggest that Joe Gibbs Racing has gotten the better end of the Earnhardt / Busch acquisitions up to this point. But as Rick Hendrick, a successful businessman in and out of racing, knew when the decision was made to bring Earnhardt, Jr. into his stable of race car drivers, Kyle Busch could not compare to his replacement in a very important category that all team owners must consider… marketability and profitability.

Even though Kyle Busch is setting the tracks on fire, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. still is a better bang for the buck.

This past week, Joyce Julius and Associates — a third party entity that measures sponsorship impacts, particularly in the field of sports sponsorships using its own proprietary methods — released its rankings of sponsorship exposure among NASCAR drivers for the first ten events of 2008. And as Rick Hendrick, no doubt, could have told you last season, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. outdistanced all other drivers in wrangling sponsor exposure during both live broadcasts and SPEED’s rebroadcasts for those companies that contribute to his HMS No. 88 Chevy race effort.

Are these types of reports a big deal? You bet, if you are a team owner soliciting sponsorship dollars. The numbers for Junior indicate that he has generated more than $150 million dollars of quality television exposure for his sponsors based on prevailing advertising rates. Compare that to four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, second in gaining his sponsor broadcast exposure. He’s credited with $126,436,385 – almost $24 million less than the exposure time Junior’s sponsors enjoy.

And where does Kyle Busch rank on this list? Fourth in total exposure time for his many corporate supporters. That’s not bad at all; however, with a total advertising exposure number trailing that of his replacement at HMS by more than $34 million, Junior’s sponsors are getting more “bang for the buck,” benefiting more by associating themselves with the 32-year-old celebrity / driver instead of the 23-year-old phenom.

“I think the results do show Earnhardt’s value to sponsors, but I would caution these numbers only reflect the first ten races and could change over the course of the year,” Eric Wright, VP of Research and Development at Joyce Julius and Associates, told the Frontstretch. “The true gap between the two may not be as great at the end of the season as it is right now.”

However, with respect to Mr. Wright and his firm’s unique research – see for more – I can not believe that there is much danger of that gap narrowing between now and the last race at Homestead. In fact, it most assuredly will grow as the season progresses. Junior’s ability to garner considerable television exposure is as much a credit to his likability and celebrity status during a race broadcast as to what he is doing on the track. His popularity is well known to television broadcasters, and they will continue to give his huge fan base and the American public an inordinate amount of airtime regardless of his position on the track.

That’s not to say that Joe Gibbs made an unwise acquisition in the controversial younger brother of NASCAR’s 2004 Cup Champion, Kurt Busch. On track, no owner could ask more of a driver than what Kyle Busch has achieved to date in his first year with a new team. And despite his demeanor, which many race-viewing fans find abrasive, his front-of-the-pack performances are giving his sponsors considerable value, as well — just not numbers approaching and/or surpassing those of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

But even more telling as to the value of Junior to his sponsors vs. Kyle is that Dale Jr. has been able to top the survey without winning a race. So strong is the support and interest in the man that Victory Lane isn’t needed to justify their loyalty; whereas Kyle, though doing just fine in satisfying his corporate supporters’ exposure needs, has been on a romp though the NASCAR world that no one in recent memory can recall any other driver equaling. And as impressive and newsworthy as Kyle Busch’s 2008 accomplishments have been, it is only reasonable to assume that at some point, the highly competitive environment that is NASCAR will catch up to the Toyota driver — and he will come back down to earth. Once that happens, the cameras will turn to the next “hot” driver … but through it all, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will still remain high on the exposure list.

The Joe Gibbs and Kyle Busch alliance may still have a potential problem on its hands, as well. As of now, Busch’s overall negative public image is being compensated for by his extraordinary early season finishes. But should Busch’s win production fall off and he finds himself as an also-ran for an extended period of time, the potential is certainly there for corporate sponsors to begin to shy away from him and his not-so-endearing image. That’s not a real concern for HMS as Junior — though winless for more than two years — is still widely supported and maintains a positive image that sponsors, asked to pay millions of dollars for team sponsorships, cherish.

“Earnhardt has a proven track record of delivering for his sponsors, and that was evident when he was negotiating his new deals for this year,” said Wright.

And deliver, the man continues to do. Imagine what an advantage Rick Hendrick has when establishing sponsorship rates for corporations scampering to get their brand logos on the hood of Junior’s No. 88. Sure, sponsoring Dale Jr. might come at a premium — possibly costing a corporation an extra $5-$10 million — but he can produce $100 million or more a year in added advertising value for a company in comparison to any other driver.

The reality is that it requires a lot of money to go NASCAR Sprint Cup racing nowadays; but no one, including “Rowdy” Busch can generate it like Junior can — even with his track record so far this season.

And… that’s my view from Turn 5.

Contact Tommy Thompson

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

05/28/2008 06:14 AM

I wonder if Kyle Petty used to sell a lot of merch?

I’m not really interested in how much stuff they hock, I’m a race fan.

We don’t remember Fireball Roberts and Tim Flock because they sold a lot of T Shirts. We remember them because they were great race car drivers.

What a pathetic article.

05/28/2008 06:32 AM

Pathetic article? It may not convey something that you want to hear or perhaps you’re a Jr detractor, but the fact is that NASCAR is about a lot more than just the racing.

If not for the sponsorship dollars and a way for those sponsors to see quantitative results from their investment, you probably wouldn’t even be able to watch racing on TV on Sunday and if you did it would probably be shown on lower tier cable channels only.

Great Article Tommy.

True Fan
05/28/2008 06:53 AM

You sure opened up a can of whup a$$ with this article can’t wait to see the responses!

True Fan
05/28/2008 07:07 AM

If you ask me JUNIOR had the best paint scheme this year too with that grey ghost , it was basically awsome !

05/28/2008 08:51 AM

As long as Kyl is such a d.i.c.k., he will NEVER be worth as much to sponsors as Jr. or possibly others. He has driver skills but needs a spanking, sponsors know it, know the fans for the most part won’t embrace him. If he wants that status he has to change, he doesn’t and he won’t so it is a moot point!

M. B. Voelker
05/28/2008 08:58 AM

It all depends on what you think a race team’s goal should be.

Jr. will sell more t-shirts.

Kyle will win more trophies.

IMO, the point of entering a sporting competition is to WIN.

05/28/2008 09:27 AM

Give me a driver who in the long run will win more races and more championships than a driver who sells more t-shirts.

Glenn Heard
05/28/2008 09:40 AM

I agree with several of the above writers; Nascar is about winning races, not selling t-shirts (popularity). If it was all about popularity Nascar could just select the “prettiest faces” even if they could not drive a car. NASCAR IS ABOUT RACING TO WIN!

05/28/2008 10:14 AM

I bet some of you also think the purpose of the News is to report the facts. It’s purpose is to sell advertising.

NA$CAR was formed to make more money more efficiently.

Everything in life is about one thing and one thing only. Removing as much money from the Sheeple as possible.

Accept it for what it is, entertainment, and enjoy it.

05/28/2008 11:23 AM

With Jr no longer being tied to Budweiser he can now be marketed to children without concern. Even though Kyle has a sponsor that should be aimed at children his demeanor may not mesh with that demographic. It will be interesting to see if there is any backlash from M&M Mars. As someone above pointed out, this is a sponsor driven sport.

05/28/2008 12:19 PM

Good points on both sides but one thing I have not seen brought up is the extra horse power the toyotas have no dyno #s been put out since Daytona that I have seen.Hendrick can put up a lot of Wins if they catch up in time

05/28/2008 12:20 PM

Does someone know the answer to these questions?

Doesn’t sponsorship dollars also go to the team for use to build cars, test and etc.?

Where does the money come from to pay the drivers when they win a race? Is that all the money that comes in from ticket sales?

05/28/2008 12:59 PM

I agree with mindcrime. My husband is an associate at Mars. Many, many of the employees at the plant he works are not only embarassed by Kyle, but just can’t stand the thought of him representing their company. I thought JGR was such a “christian” organization. Maybe they need to do some sweeping around their own back door.

05/28/2008 01:20 PM

I always have to wonder why some of you, probably Jr. fans, question Joe Gibbs Committment to his faith.

Do you/they think that Kyle Busch is some kind of “anti-Christ” and that Joe Gibbs will go to Hell for hiring him to drive?

As far as KB’s sponsor, M&M’s, they’re getting exactly what they want, Victory Lane exposure.

Just remember this, Kyle Busch finds ways to win races, DE Jr. finds ways to lose.

Butch Camp
05/28/2008 01:38 PM

I try to be a Jr. fan but the Jr. nation makes it almost impossible, no matter what happens on the track if he’s involved there’s no way it’s his fault.He can wreck someone, & he has, but it’s always the other guy’s fault. I’m not a Busch fan, either one of them, but Kyle is a far better driver than Jr.He will win a championship before Jr. does, Kurt did, & Kyle will too.Jr. is not his dad, on or off the track & never will be. He’s living on his dad’s name.

wayne welch
05/28/2008 01:39 PM

what an idiot kyle is a racer junior has sold his soul because he can not win

05/28/2008 02:00 PM

Butch Camp – Get real!
Jr didn’t win 17 races on his dads name. It was his name and his driving. Jr isn’t setting 3rd in points on his dads name. Sure he has the name BUT that doesn’t automatically give him 17 wins (more if you count non points races)nor does it automatically put him 3rd in points.

And in case you never noticed no fans of any driver hold there driver at fault for any wrong doing even if the driver admits it was his fault. It is part of being a fan. Ask any other drivers fans if their driver has ever done anything wrong. They will argue tooth and nail that they didn’t just as Jr’s does. Jr just has more fans and so there are more people who defend him. It is all part of being a FAN that what they do.

Your saying you try to be a Jr fan is a outright lie!!! You say that in one breath and in the next you bash Jr saying he is living on his dad’s name.

Ken in Va.
05/28/2008 02:21 PM

Glennn-NA$CAR is not about winning races. It is about making money. The sponsors are far more interested in selling their products than they are in winning races. Michael Waltrip would have been gone long ago (or never got to NA$CAR) it it was based on ability and winning races. Jr. is a sure win for sponsors because he is constantly on the screen and in the commentators conversation regardless of how he runs.

05/28/2008 02:26 PM

Junior, the Danica of NASCAR. No wonder they both do Go Daddy ads.

05/28/2008 02:47 PM

Connie you have true Jr mentality! Screwed up and wrong! Butch Camp is 100% right! According to the rapid little Jr fans, nothing is ever Jr fault! He still can’t win in the best equipment there is, and as his fans say!“It’s not his fault!!” According to his rapid baby fans, It’s Rick’s fault, it’s Jeff, Jimmie and Casey’s fault, but not Jr’s! I have never in 30 years of following racing seen such a rabid messed up group of fans, as that below average driver has! Not one other fan base acts as low class as Jr fans! Throwing beer at a driver when he wins cause he beat Jr, is as low class as you can get!
Low Class=Jr fans

05/28/2008 03:21 PM

I STILL amazes me WHY all the Jr HATERS can’t wait to read about him!! Like their pathetic ramblings are going to enlighten us Jr fans, and turn us as ignorant as they are. All you clowns that don’t like Jr, do us Jr fans a favor and STOP reading about him! I’m really starting to worry about the mental health of some of you. Talk about insane anti fans….

Hate the 18
05/28/2008 03:51 PM

Self imposed nickname? Kyle is a “tool”

Mettie Foley
05/28/2008 03:58 PM

For those of you who want Kyle Busch, do the rest of us a favor—TAKE HIM. HE’S YOURS!

05/28/2008 04:11 PM

Larry – I believe that the Jr haters have to spew their hatred for Jr because their driver may or may not be better than Jr and not even close to being as popular and that just eats at them. They just can’t understand why that is. Their driver should be the very best.

Johanna – What is your hero Tony’s excuse?? He hasn’t won since what last July? He is getting his but kicked by Kyle and Denny. Whos fault is that???? He really is in the best equipment. JGR has 2 drivers in the top 4 and Tony in 8th (winless) Is KB and DH getting all the good stuff?

And by the way you said rapid little Jr fans. Look up the word rapid (means fast) I think you meant rabid. LOA Just like yesterday your make up things – I have never heard anyone say Jr not winning is Rick, Jimmie, Jeff nor Casey’s fault. I don’t know what planet you are living on.

05/28/2008 04:15 PM

It amazes me how Junior “haters” – who are not fans of other drivers, they just hate Junior – can’t give him a pat on the back. He’s matching Kyle without wins. His driver rating is just a little below what Kyle has. This is just as important as wins. Anyone can get a bunch of wins, but the consistency wins championships. He is tied with Kyle for most top 10s, and yet, somehow, he’s a “below average driver”. He’s not running 20th place week in and week out. He’s a threat to win every week and is third in points, ready to pounce on second. Give him his due, he has proven he can do well. And when the wins do come, oh and the will, you all will STILL be finding ways to put him down.

And as a Junior fan, I know for a fact that people don’t blame Rick or other Hendrick drivers. That’s just made up BS because people just hate Junior for his popularity. He’s popular because he has two Busch championships. He’s popular because he has 17 career point wins (technically 23 with non-point wins). He’s popular because of how likable of a guy he is. He’s popular because he’s kind, thoughtful, and always takes blame.

I hate this article. I think it’s sad that anyone would act like the revenue is by far more satisfying to anyone.

Rick is happy with Junior’s performance as is Junior himself, and Junior Nation. And when the wins come, everyone will be back on the Junior bandwagon except those few with 5 different names who will continue to find fault with him. Otherwise they would be saying, “good job” right now with the fact that he is doing well. Even he won two races. They do count, just not towards points, unfortunately. And people seem to forget that. But of course, because they hate Junior and only Junior for his popularity… instead of seeing what everyone else sees.

Junior haters always come complaining about Junior fans and how rabid they are. But they go around LOOKING for pro-Junior articles, or any Junior articles for that matter, in an effort to bash him. And somehow that makes them 10 times better than the Junior fans they accuse of being terrible. Truth is, they’re no better than those they claim suck.

And Kyle better than Junior? Debatable. If you count Junior first full three years plus the first quarter of the season, Junior actually had one more point win than Kyle. And if you count non-points wins, Junior has four more than Kyle. Truth is, both of these boys are very talented. The trouble is, Junior’s recent slump – which all drivers go through – is more publicized and is compounded by young Busch’s winning which overshadows the phenomenal season Junior is actually having. If you accuse Junior fans of following blindly, then you needn’t look so blindly at the facts.

05/28/2008 04:20 PM

Rick Hendricks is about money…. and jr is just his little sponsor whore…( cause jr fans will buy anything with his name on it).. Hendricks knows he has more championships left in 48 & 24 . He could care less if jr wins anything

05/28/2008 04:47 PM

Tony has won a ton of times in the last two years! How many times has overrated Jr won?? Oh yeah, thats right! NONE!! My man has won 2 Championships. He has nothing to prove to anyone. He has already proved how great a driver he is! How many championships has below average, overrated Jr won?? Oh that’s right! NONE!! When your overrated below average drive wins 2 Championships and has 32 wins, then you can talk! Until that happens Jr’s low class fans are not worth it!

05/28/2008 04:48 PM

Aircewman – What do you and your family work for if not money. Does that make you a Whore also. I believe it does.

05/28/2008 05:11 PM

Give me Kyle any day. He clearly got screwed at HMS when Junior – for whom I lost all respect when he started his whining last year about wanting to own DEI decided to go on the market. Guess what, if Dale, Sr. had wanted him to have it there would be a codicil in his will speaking to that. He left it to Theresa. ‘Nuff said.
Kyle is a driver in mold of the late Dale Earnhardt who takes no prisoners. People forget that the elder Dale was not the most warm and friendly guy but his fan base was so huge that, in the parlance of the NBA, he “got the call” when it came to his personna.
05/28/2008 05:38 PM

i agree, with umad80“s artical!! he said, every thing a jr. fan knows.!!!!
and to paul, where is kyle“s, great, fan base?
you are comparing, him to dale,senior? wat a waste of time, for you to even type that statment!!
that“s right, I AM A NO.# 1 FAN OF JR.!!!!!!

05/28/2008 05:41 PM

Johanna – Have you thought about anger management? Your personal attacks on JR and his fans are over the top. I’m a JR fan and I am neither low class nor do I have rabies. Get a grip. You have your driver, we have ours. I’m not going to insult your mother because you like Tony Stewart, sounds like you would though if she were a JR fan.

05/28/2008 06:02 PM

Tony has not won since 8-10-07 he has gone 26 races now without a win. He has only 3 wins between 2007 and 2008 which would be in 48 races. Kyle has 3 wins already this year. The new kid on the block is better than Tony. No wonder he wants out of JGR he can’t handle being shown up. The kid is putting Tony to shame. At least Jr hasn’t smacked a reporter and thrown TONS of tantrums like Tony. Thats class if I ever saw it. Nascar has had to call him on the carpet many times. Tony got rid of his real monkey, he must be hoping to literally get the monkey off his back. Sure he has 2 championships that was history. How many years ago was that? What is he doing now in the present?
Oh 8th in points 5 below Jr. and also winless.

What are you going to do if the rumors about Tony and Jr owning a cup team together happens. Since I actually like Tony I’d love that to happen. I just had to let his rabid fan know Tony isn’t perfect NO driver is including Jr. Tony is just in a slump just a Jr is only Jr’s is longer. Tony has been racing in the cup series how many years? I’d have to look that up. I do know Tony has 32 total wins. 15 more than Jr but in how many years more he by rights should have more.

Jr doesn’t have to win to be the most popular driver. We fans love him just the way he is. Yes Pen Anger management should be in order for Johanna

05/28/2008 06:31 PM

There is one thing that all you haters overlook, Jr was having a great career driving for his father, the wins he garnered under the DEI banner while the company was led by his father prove Jr can drive a race car. When Dale Sr. died, his step mom took over DEI and ran it into the ground. No other driver has had to put up with the stupidity that Jr had to put up with. You folks say he is a so so driver, funny that now that he has left the organization that his father built and his step mom slowly destroyed, he is all of a sudden, 3 rd in the points and a contender to win EVERY week. You folks are blind to the facts, Jr drove inferior equipment at DEI under the guidance of step mom T. He didn’t forget how to win, but to win you can’t have junk under your butt day in and day out. Rick Hendrick knows how to provide superior equipment, Jr knows how to take good equipment to the front. You HATERS need to open your eyes and actually watch a race every now and then.

05/28/2008 06:33 PM

MOST POPULAR doesn’t aways mean most talented as we are seeing this year. Who’s the Jr. Nation going to blame once Tony Jr. is gone? Oh, I know!! Teresa hired Kyle to make Jr. look bad this year. Yeah, that must be it.

05/28/2008 07:12 PM

Last year when Hendrick racing won 1/2 the races with Kyle driving the “best” equipment available, yet he lagged far behind JJ or JG in wins nor did he win a championship last year. To say that Junior can’t win with the best equipment is somewhat misleading since at the moment Hendrick’s racing is not as dominant as last year so this type of argument is like apples and oranges. This year driving same equipment Jr has better results as JJ and JG with the exception of the fuel mileage win that JJ had. Kyle is being propped up with the best equipment at JGR to be the face for Toyota. In the end I would take Jr, Tony, JJ, JG long before would take Kyle.

05/28/2008 07:14 PM

all that maters is wins Kile 3 .jr 0

05/28/2008 07:42 PM

Yikes!!! Rough crowd! The article was right on, like it or not people! I don’t care who you love or hate, it’s all about the money. Without it we wouldn’t have the sport we love in the capacity that we have it.

05/28/2008 08:52 PM

Jr. may not be the best driver in Nascar but he is pretty darn good. Two Busch Championships and 17 cup wins is a pretty good record especially when you consider that his equipment was not as good as some of the other teams. He was running very good last year and had how many blown engines? I think it was five or six. Nobody can win with equipment like that. If not for the “racing deal” with Kyle at Richmond and Denny stopping on the track to bring out the caution Jr. would have already won this year. What about last weekend in Charlotte, I believe Jr. led the most laps and look like he had a car to win until a tire let go like it did with several other drivers. Someone who doesn’t think Jr. can drive needs to go back and check the win records of previous nascar drivers. He ranks pretty high and if he had been in Hendrick Equipment for a while I’m sure he would have had a lot more wins. Hendrick is definitely behind this year but Jr. is leading all Hendrick Drivers at this point. That’s pretty darn good to be ahead of the past two year’s champion Johnson and Four Time Champion Gordon. Anyone can pull for whoever you like but it’s very obvious that Jr. can drive a race car. Like someone said, he wasn’t given two busch championships and seventeen Sprint Cup wins just because his name was Earnhardt.

05/28/2008 09:27 PM

Look at the stats. First Jimmy Johnson, then Kasey Kahne, then Kyle Busch. There were others before. There have been a lot of drivers who won a lot of races over a short period of time, because they are talented, and are in the right car and with the right team at the right time. Kyle Busch is no second coming, he is Kyle Busch. His fifteen minutes of glory will be over soon, and replaced by _____________?!. He is winning right now, so a lot of people want to jump on the band wagon and be Busch fans. 10 years ago these same people were Gordon fans, then Johnson, etc. A TRUE FAN sticks by his driver through thick and thin. Junior has won more than his fair share of races and is an excellent driver. He is not his father, doesn’t claim to be. He, and a lot of other drivers along with him do not have that burn in their belly, that desire to win, because they can make too much money on sponsor endorsements, just racing for points, etc. They don’t have to win to eat and that makes a lot of difference.

05/28/2008 09:40 PM

I dunno, Tommy. I don’t think it was just money.

Rick Hendrick has plenty of money. He didn’t need the grief that was Kyle Busch. He didn’t need the torn-up race cars…. The walking out on the team…. The going out to Vegas and getting into pissing contests with local short-track guys by tearing up their equipment…. The nasty comments about the COT in Victory Lane…. The wrecking the 5 car and the 2 car in the all-star race…. And the agent out shopping Busch around while Rick was proclaiming that there was no room at the inn.

To some degree, Kyle has learned from getting fired. He seems to have lost his ugly edge. He’s having fun playing the villian.

I think it was a good move all around.

P.S. to aircrewman: There’s nobody in racing named “Rick Hendricks.”

05/28/2008 10:01 PM

Rough and so set that reasoning is irrelevant, wasn’t that long ago that Ryan Newman was the second coming of Cale Y. with his streak of wins a few years back. Seems it wasn’t that long ago that Jeff was washed up because he wasn’t winning, last year he didn’t look washed up. I guess Matt K. is washed up since he hasn’t won this year and has been running great equipment all his career. Jeff Burton was washed, well so they said, he looks like he can still drive to me. To be competitive in 2nd class is tough, just ask JPM in the 42, course he probably isn’t half the driver that Kyle is. Like someone said before Jr is being competitive in equipment that is not as dominant as last year and doing what Felix S. said he couldn’t do, hang with JG and JJ in the standings where it matters.

05/28/2008 10:45 PM

Oh and Johanna Jr is so overrated that he got 6 wins in 2004. Naw he can’t drive at all he is only 3rd or 4th in all time Nationwide wins. Its not like he won the Daytona 500 or the Bud Shootout or the All Star Race his rookie year oh wait…he did.

Karen a Mikey Fan
05/28/2008 11:12 PM

Wow, people, let’s all agree that NASCAR is entertainment. It is a compelling sport because we get to see the behind the scenes stuff because of the excellent coverage by SPEED channel and the other broadcast networks.

I love watching JR race, I also totally admire the awesome skill of Tony Stewart. I have seen him make saves on the track where other drivers would have ended up in the wall in the same circumstance.

Kyle is more entertaining this year. Bowing during introductions is hilarious. Wiping out his brother in the All Star last year was even more hilarious.

Mikey runs pathetic equipment and I know many don’t like him as a driver, but I hope his teams and company make him super rich. I enjoy his enjoyment of the sport.

I don’t like Kurt Bush as a driver, however, I admire how nicely he treats his wife (as shown on the nascar360 show, whatever happened to that show, that was a great show).

Nascar is for everybody. There is something on the track for everyone to pick out what they like, root for the favorite, boo their villain, and enjoy the entertainment provided during a race.

Heck, I don’t even mind DW and his boogity boogity that begins each race at the green. I even miss it when the other networks take over the races. I don’t even mind when he pimps those digger stuffed animals during his trackside show and during the race.

All this stuff is pure entertainment gold and I still love it after 7 yaars of being a fan.

Do I want JR to win a championship? Sure, the sooner the better. Do I want Mikey’s teams to work their way into at least the top 25 consistently in owner’s points, Absolutely. Do I want Smoke to win another championship? Absolutely. Do I love it when Jeff G and Jimmy J wreck or finish way back in the field, you bet. Each of us take something away each weekend and we keep coming back for more.

Why get all upset at other fans who like something different? Geeze people, if you want to be upset at something, be upset at the bad people shooting at our troops overseas. That is worth getting upset about.

Peace Out.

05/29/2008 12:00 AM

-If you want to sell stuff, Jr. is your man.
-If you want your car driven to the checkered flag, call Kyle.

Just my observation. Neither is my favorite driver. But if I was rich and owned a team, that’s how I’d look at it.

05/29/2008 09:34 AM

325 falcan…u got the piont thuoght reight!!! ……Rik hindrecks is A CROOK so He’ll never have enough MONEY!!!….HE NEVER KNOWS WHEN HE’LL BE IN COURT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!! OH and feel free to correct the spelling

05/29/2008 09:50 AM

Thanks for that article, it was pretty much spot on, and showed how clear the choice was that Mr H made. NASCAR is a business. If you don’t operate it like one, you’re not going to make it here. Jr over Kyle was a no brainer.

What seems to hurt Kyle the most is that his talent can’t make up for the fact that people just don’t like him as well, and most of them never will. He’s never going to beat Jr in popularity, and even if he were to go on a streak and win 4 championships (in this day and age a very unlikely thing) his name might rank near Jr’s – but he’ll ever stand out as the icon in this sport that Jr is. Jimmie Johnson has just won back-to-back championships and has done things in NASCAR that no one has ever done before, and he’s still something of a second thought right now. In time that will be corrected, and Jimmie’s not done, but the fact is that his accomplishments will never get him on the same playing field as Jr. It’s simply a totally different ballpark.

Many NASCAR “insiders” have commented that they’ve never seen the phenomena that Jr is – his daddy wasn’t even close. Like it or not, fair or not, that’s the way it is, regardless of Jr’s accomplishments in this sport his legacy is secure.

I don’t know how long it will take Kyle to find peace with that, but until he does that “maturity” that he seeks will remain elusive.

05/29/2008 10:21 AM

I like Jr since I remember him as a kid supporting his father, and I was not always a fan of Sr either. I do not think Jr is the best driver on the track, although I think he is indeed a very good driver who needs to regain the confidence he used to have. The guy that once wrecked at Atlanta trying to go for the win at the end of a season, while in a tight championship points battle, to some degree seems almost hesitant now to go for the win if it means risking a solid finish. He sounded like he half regretted trying to hang onto the lead for the win at Richmond, instead of settling for a top 3.

I’m not a Johnson fan (nor do I hate him) but those moves for the win at charlotte last year during the chase, when he could have just settled for a safe second, now THAT was racing! I don’t care how much you hate HMS, that car was sideways and he was still going for it when logic dictated he take second, a true fan of racing would still begrudgingly respect that.

This notion that being a fan means never thinking one’s driver is ever at fault is absurd. That isn’t being a fan, its being a mindless lemming or a zealot. Being a fan is continuing to stick by a given driver in spite of the bad times or when its obvious they messed up, not burying your head in the sand.

I also like Kyle Busch’s thicker skin this year, and the sense of humor to try to make lemonade out of the situation. It certainly is a nice change of pace from having yet another corporate politically correct pretty boy!

Some of you people need to chill out and remember this is entertainment. :)

Butch Camp
05/29/2008 10:52 AM

connie:be careful who you call a liar. you don’t know me,& I’ll venture a guess you don’t know junior either.I was an avid Dale Sr. fan,& wether you choose to believe it or not,makes no difference to me I am a Jr. fan, but people like you make it hard sometimes.You know very little about racing,
I’m sure you’ve never even sat in a race car. I on the other hand have & still run a 360 sprint car most every Saturday night, so at least I know what I’m talking about.Jr. won 17 races, big deal how many had Jeff Gordon won in the same time frame, or for that matter the much hated, better driver Kyle Busch,brother Kurt can add a championship,Junior cant even come close, again Kyle Busch,who I’m certainly not a fan of will win a championship before Jr. will just as bro. Kurt did.Again I’m not a fan of either Busch boy, I just have sense enough to recognize talent when I see it, obviously not like most of the Jr. nation.Once more be careful who you call a liar, when the one you’re directing your remarks to knows more about the subject than you. Grow up it’s just a couple of guy’s you don’t know & probably never will driving race cars,nothing to call names about or even argue about.

Butch Camp
05/29/2008 11:11 AM

Johanna: you forgot to mention the titles Tony Stewart has won in USAC cars, Sprint cars, plus some very good runs in the Indy 500, only a handful of drivers in NASCAR could match that ‘till the influx of open wheel drivers lately,& none of them named Jr.Dale sr. was great on dirt, but I dont think Jr.‘s so good on it.& Larry his Nationwide cars arent exactly setting the series on fire.Also everyone wants to blame Teresa for Jr.‘s lack of wins, she’s not in the driver seat, Mark Martin seems to be doing pretty good in Jr.‘s old car, qualifing ahead of Jr. sometimes.Jr. is a good driver, just not as good as the Jr. Nation thinks or wants him to be.Most of his problems are just bad luck,he’s put hisself in a position to win several times & something bad happensBut I still believe if his last name was Rodnosky instead of Earnhardt he wouldn’t be near as popular.

05/29/2008 01:45 PM

Butch camp my hats off to you !!! well put!!!

Kevin in SoCal
05/29/2008 02:09 PM

NASCAR should have penalized Jr for deliberately speeding on pit road and on the track several times during a caution. They got that call wrong. He was speeding to avoid getting lapped, putting himself, other drivers, pit crew members, and safety workers in danger.

05/29/2008 02:43 PM

A Jr fan does not say things like “he is living on his dads name.” Exactly HOW did his name get his car in winners circle 17 times?? And exactly HOW is his name put him 3rd in points right now?? You have failed to say how that happened. Kyle Petty’s dad set records no one will ever touch but has having the Petty name gotten him as far along as Jr? He has an even
better name.

You are wrong I have sat in a race car. My father raced, my son filled in 1 year for someone who was hurt and couldn’t drive his drag strip car and went to finals. My husbands nephew raced and had 2 championships. I HAVE NOT raced a car myself, but before my dad pasted he set up a demolition car for me to drive at the local fair. Thats just bumping and banging around not even close to racing but it was fun. I have done the Petty ride along and that was a blast. My husband has drove it twice. I have been to 31 Cup races since 2000. I listen to Jr’s. scanner EVERY week thru Sometimes a little of other drivers. I don’t even pretend to know everything as you the expert does. I just have opinions for what its worth.

No I don’t know you(happy about that), nor do I personally know Jr. Do you?? I have only had the pleasure of getting his autograph once. And I must say by the way that the nicest drivers that I have ever gotten autographs from was Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.

How does racing a sprint car make you the Cup racing expert? The cars and drivers the same? I think not, but you know everything LOL.

Butch Camp
05/29/2008 03:43 PM

Well very glad that I don’t know you as well, if I did I would deny it.I never claimed to be an expert on cup racing, but if you know anything at all about sprint cars you might understand doubtful though that they are as hard if not harder to drive than a cup car.And yes I have driven a cup car a friend who is dead now had an ARCA & cup car that I drove at Texas World Speedway when it was open, & had the honor of being passed by Dale Sr. & Neil Bonnett.I also had a few drag strip cars, & drove the very fast (at the time) Fenn&Warwick AA/Gas dragster.I guess listening to scanners puts you in the crew chief catagory.Oh I meant have you sat in a car that was actually moving?Driving the Petty experience is a joke, my girlfriend who isn’t even a good street driver drove the Petty car in Vegas.Try flat footing a sprint car around a dirt track at about130 to 140 on a5/8 mile track then tell me you’ve been in a race car.Sprint cars are short wheel base cars weighting 1200 to 1400 lbs. with 700 to 900 hp. very hard to handle,but how would you know? We don’t have scanners.You keep harping on Jr.s 17 wins & 3rd in points where is Kyle Busch in points?And again I refer you to how many wins did Jeff Gordon have in the same time frame?Once more it’s fans like you that make it hard to be a Jr. fan.

Butch Camp
05/29/2008 04:37 PM

connie why not chill a little? we’re argueing about a guy neither of us knows, & probably never will. He gives me the impression that he’s the type that would laugh his butt off if he read all we have said.I’ve already said I think he’s a good driver, just has a lot of bad luck.So I’m tireing of this quickly it’s like a couple of Jr. high school kids, like I said neither of us know the guy so why argue about something so silly? Peace & transmission grease

05/29/2008 05:14 PM

Butch Camp – I will say I am sorry. It is just so frustrating that people including yourself that keep saying Jr is living on his dads name. He has accomplished a lot. He has the name yes, but he also has to have some talent to have done what he has. Kerry didn’t make it and he has the Earnhardt name and even looks more like his daddy. I haven’t followed to see how Jeffery is doing.

I will say that listening to the scanner does give someone insight to all the emotions drivers go thru during a race. You also get to hear some of their humor while going 190+ around a turn and under cautions. Jr can be quite a card sometimes. Tony has asked for his water temp and he replied with some really high no. and put Tony into a panic. Then he said nah I’m just messing with you. It doesn’t make me a crew chief but it adds more fun to a race then listening to the broadcasters thats for sure. The worst part of it is paying NA$CAR to hear it. But its only 4.95 a month (and they mean every month even off season) Oh well we like it.

Have a good night.

05/29/2008 05:50 PM

Oh by the way KB is a very talented driver a little to wild sometimes when he does not have to be but thats part of being young and dumb. I was very impressed with his driving but I am getting so tired of the disrespect he has for other drivers and us as fans. I have stated before I get enough of cocky ass kids in my everyday life, as have many people. I don’t have any in my house and never really did lucky for me. So for me his mouth isn’t a breath of fresh air.

The old saying is you get more flies with honey than vinegar.

05/29/2008 06:15 PM

The more I see of Kyle Busch race the more he reminds me of Dale Sr!

Butch Camp
05/29/2008 06:35 PM

connie: Kyle & disrespect for other drivers, I can remember when almost everyone on the track complained about Dale Sr.
& all he got was boo’s, he once told Jeff Gordon who was getting his share of boo’s, “as long as they’re making noise, boo’s or cheer’s you’re ok when they’re quite you have a problem.Earnhardt sr. was pretty cocky too as I remember.

Butch Camp
05/29/2008 06:37 PM

Connie:By the way no apology expected or needed.

05/29/2008 06:54 PM

Butch, don’t you think as a racer, that Mom T has had a negative impact on DEI? A few things you forget when comparing Jr to Mark Martin and how well Mark is doing in the 8. First ,Mark is not related to mom T, he doesn’t have to put up with her, he chooses to, but only on a part time basis (wonder why? oh ya retirement, year 3 ). Second, you can’t deny that DEI started to slip shortly after Dale Sr’s death. Third you also can’t deny that Jr was running well even after Dale Sr’s death. It took a few years for the mom T effect to alter how competitive DEI was on the track. Now if you choose to believe the slow demise of DEI was all Jr’s fault, then I quess you must be just as hard nosed as you say us Jr fans are. One other foot note, a sprint car is a handfull true, but you don’t go 400 laps do you.So I’ll say you have been behind the wheel of a race car, how can I dispute that? But you seem to think because you have driven a race car your opinion matters more than someone else’s. Most of us don’t agree with you.For what it’s worth….Take care

Tracy simpkins
05/29/2008 06:58 PM

Yeah that will be Jr’s. legacy. I never won a Cup championship but I generated the most revenue. Where would he be if his name was Dale Smith Jr.

Butch Camp
05/29/2008 08:19 PM

Larry I never said that DEI’s problems were caused byJr.,& I’m tired of argueing about DEI, I don’t know what’s wrong there or if there is.Mark Martin, yeah he’s been retireing for seems like forever,I have never been much of a Mark Martin fan.Yes you’re right I don’t go 400 laps,& don’t want to wrestle the thing around for that long either 50 laps is enought for me.I don’t give a rats ass if no one agrees with me on any subject,I don’t consider myself an expert on anything, one thing I’ve learned in life, you can always learn something else.So for your what it’s worthit aint worth much if you get my drift.

05/29/2008 09:50 PM

Bottom line folks, Jr. has two busch championships and 17 cup wins including a Daytona 500. Check the win records of past Nascar Drivers, you might be surprised at the wins of some well known drivers. Kurt Busch has a Championship but only 10 Nascar Cup wins I believe. The name Earnhardt didn’t give Jr. them wins and Busch Championships.

Butch Camp
05/29/2008 10:13 PM

Larry: I took your advice & checked some other drivers.Not a fan of this guy but he has a pretty good record.81career victorys 6th on all time win list,4 time champion,4th all time pole winner, 3time Daytona winner,4timeIndy Brickyard winner, record 9 road course wins, record 12 restrictor plate wins, guessed who yet? Jeff Gordon.Pretty impressive I’d say.A little better than good ole Jr.

05/30/2008 03:22 AM

Heck, Gordon is no doubt in the top five nascar drivers of all time. Never said Jr. was in that class. But, Gordon has been driving seven more years in cup and has been with one of the premier teams (Hendricks) since day one in cup. I’ve often said if Earnhardt Senior had been in Hendrick Equipment no telling how many wins and championships he would have had. Childress was a decent team but I don’t think they were in Hendricks League. Also think that Senior made Childress look better than they actually were. Senior could take a fifth place car for another driver and win with it. There are many nascar drivers who have driven for a lots longer than Jr. who don’t have seventeen cup victories and never will.

Butch Camp
05/30/2008 07:13 AM

Man I give up.You Jr. nation fans can find a way to justify anything he does or doesn’t do, you people should all see if he would let you build homes on his land so you could be close to him & wait on him hand & foot. You guy’s should have a golden monument made of him so you could worship, & offer sacrifices to it.Like I said to Connie it’s people like you guy’s that make it hard to be a Jr. fan.He is good but not as good as you Nation fans think or want him to be.I’m tired of beating my head aganist the wall with you guy’s,to you he’s the best & does nothing wrong.I know you will dispute this but kinda like you said a lot of people disagree.I’m sure there are a lot of drivers that wish they had this kind of loyalty & fan base.I’m not one of them though. I have my fans but the’re not as obnoxious as the Junior Nation.If I screw up my fans are as likely to boo me as cheer me, & yes i do so make some bonehead moves from time to time.

Kevin in SoCal
05/30/2008 12:36 PM

I find it funny that if Kyle and Dale did not get together on lap 398 at Richmond, we wouldnt be talking about this. Kyle acheived this villian status only after daring to bump the precious Dale while going for the win.

Larry Rasnake
05/30/2008 07:45 PM

What an informative article, well written and to the point, I have many times tried and failed to send the same type of message on many web-site’s, but, failed to do so, and the reason, put simply, most fans can not see the forrest for the trees.

Many NASCAR fans think it is about tee-shirts (LOL), it is about Fortune 500 compaines and TV Time and exposure that Dale Jr bring’s to the Table. Kyle could be a marketing dynamo, but only if he takes good sound advise and hires a great PR person, not a good one he needs great, as he has alot to make up for.

I do not like Kyle off the track, he clearly does not think before he speaks and that is his biggest problem. I know some are saying he is just youg and brash, but, it is more than that, it is his whole attitude that will bring Kyle down and I think Rick saw that and showed him the door. JMO

05/30/2008 11:04 PM

For someone that is a hack, according to the KB fans, if you look at the winning percentages of active drivers the only ones that have a higher winning percentage are JG,JJ,TS,CE,GB then JR,KB,MM,DH,KK. For a driver that came up at the same time as JR Matt K has less victories and a lower winning percentage and has run his entire career with top notch equipment, ditto for JG,JJ,TS, and Carl.

06/01/2008 10:45 AM

Connie, Tony has been running in the Cup series 10 years to Jr’s 9 years. Tony started racing in the Cup series in 1999 while Jr came into the Cup series full time in 2000. So Tony really hasn’t been in the sport much longer than Jr has.

06/01/2008 02:04 PM

Correction: This year is Tonys 10th year. This is Jr’s 9th year. But what was the point of the years in Cup anyway?? My comment was that Tony is also on a losing streak. e has gone 26 races w/o a win and what is HIS excuse? JGR has the best cars this year why can’t he win?
he only has 3 wins in 48 races. His teammate KB hs 3 wins in 12 races. Is KB and DH getting all the good stuff? Jr isn’t the only driver on a losing streak.

06/01/2008 06:45 PM

You also made a comment about how Tony should have 15 more wins than Jr because he has been in the sport alot longer. Course I don’t think being in the sport one year longer is much at all but whatever. And Tony’s excuse is that team never wins many races before the month of June. he actually only has 4 wins I believe before the month of June.

Butch Camp
06/02/2008 05:32 PM

Larry as far as Jr.s 17 cup wins, the way KB’s going he’ll surpass that this season.

Jane Bagwell
06/04/2008 12:22 AM

If all you “know- it- alls” have a problem with Junior Nation, get over it! Junior is very down-to-earth and is not responsible because he has so many fans. Some of these comments are ludicrous.Nothing you say is going to change how Junior’s fans feel about him—-win, lose, or draw! I’m glsd that some of you are not on his fan list!!

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