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Fanning the Flames: Crazy Eights, Busted Tapes, & Can Kasey Kahne Relate?

Anyone hear about a little press conference that took place yesterday in Dallas? You may not have heard much, as it only involved the sport’s favorite son… plus some new friends from PepsiCo and the National Guard. There was also something about a number, what was it, No. 88?

Seriously, I think I speak for the majority of race fans out there, well, the die-hards, anyway, when I say, “Thank you for finally laying everything out on the table!” We can now refocus and move on with the rest of our lives.

Not that the whole Dale Earnhardt Jr. storyline didn’t make life easy on some of us. Got a print deadline quickly approaching? Need a topic to fill an 800-word slate? No problem! Just plug in your latest opinion on Junior vs. Stepmom, Junior and the New Number and/or Junior and DEI’s Engine Sabotage… and you’re all set.

BOWLES: IT’S OFFICIAL – EARNHARDT JR. TO HENDRICK’S NO. 88

Speaking of which, check out this email I received from a reader in response to last week’s Fanning the Flames that leads me to believe everyone may be getting a little tired of the media’s overkill on all things Junior, or maybe the reader just doesn’t like me:

Engine sabotaged? By even including those words in your article you just did exactly what you are accusing Yahoo of doing. Hypocrite. On top of that, you wasted my time reading your “recycled” trash.

Hypocrite? Recycled trash? Ouch. C’mon Pat, those are harsh words for someone who signs their emails with a Jesus fish next to their name.

I guess as we try to close the book on the whole Earnhardt-to-Hendrick saga, the most fitting way to do it is by opening a new can of worms: Junior’s new paint schemes are hideous! Hey – us journalists always need to have something to write about in a pinch.

On to question time.

Q: Wow, I am on the hot seat here. Was wondering if you in any way could help me. While my boyfriend was working out of town I was supposed to record the Dale movie that was on CMT. I did record it, only to have something happen to the tape and only about the first 10-15 minutes of it recorded properly. He will be home this coming Friday and I am SO depressed that I didn’t get my man what he wanted. Are they going to air this again any time in the future? Or is there any way to purchase this?? Please tell me anything you might know or any way you might be able to help as soon as possible. Many thanks!Leeann, not wanting to upset her man in South Dakota

A: Sorry Leeann, but the early September dates on CMT were the only scheduled showings for the TV crowd. I talked to a friend at CMT, whose films division produced the movie, and was told they will most likely release the DVD in time for the buying bonanza known to us as Christmas. A specific date should be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Q: I’ve heard many talk about it and I agree completely: Kasey Kahne doesn’t seem to fit the Budweiser image. I know he is very marketable, but am I missing something?P. Van Inge

A: Budweiser has a pretty solid track record as far as a driver lineup is concerned. I agree that it will take some getting used to, but there is no denying Kasey’s marketing potential. Maybe the new commercials will take place in a bar where three drunk guys hit on the Allstate triplets as Kasey flashes his ID to a skeptical bartender in the background.

NEFF: KAHNE THE NEW FACE OF BUDWEISER PULL IT OFF?

What I find odd is that Dodge balked when Coors wanted on the hood – but they’re now willing to give up the prime real estate for Anheuser-Busch. King of Beers, indeed.

Q: Hi, Matt. I’m wondering where you think David Reutimann will end up next year. He is a solid performer who is outracing his veteran teammates. We keep seeing that he could leave Michael Waltrip Racing and that sponsorship could play a factor. I think given the right opportunity, Reutimann could be successful. Can you enlighten me any?Darwin12

A: Reutimann is the big wildcard at this stage of Silly Season. What makes this answer difficult is that he has played his cards close to the vest, so not a lot has leaked on his situation. I was told as late as two days ago, however, that he is actively looking for a new ride, as Burger King may be hitting the road.

I’ve been championing Scott Wimmer for the fourth RCR car (if, in fact, it materializes) but I believe Reutimann could find the success you speak of there and would make a nice fit. Regardless of where he lands in 2008, Reutimann has shown the ability to make a lot with a little, and that will pay off for him somewhere, someway, down the road.

That’s all for me this week. I’ll be busy doing the fantasy football/NASCAR thumb dance again this weekend at Dover… suppose that’s the way it goes from here on out.

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