Today I would like to use this weekly column to send a personal and public “Thank You” to Mr. Robert Yates.
You see, his selfless giving of the number 88 to the Hendrick organization for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to use has actually helped solve many of my own personal problems. Granted, it’s probably not the personal problems my friends and kin would think I should worry about, but they were things that were lingering in a dark corner of my mind and it is good to be rid of them.
The first problem started over a year ago when my all-time favorite NASCAR driver, Dale Jarrett, left Robert Yates Racing. I have tons of 88 stuff! Luckily, (and as I predicted) Jarrett’s longtime sponsor UPS decided to go with Dale when he went to Michael Waltrip Racing so, other than his number changing to 44, all my hats, shirts and other stuff were still publicly accepted. While the stuff that had the UPS logo and the ’88’ were still good, it was the things that just had the number on them that caused me a bit of concern. If I wear one of the many hats that is emblazoned with just the number 88 on it, would people think I was a Ricky Rudd fan? Luckily for this year anyway, it wasn’t too big of a worry because I happen to like Rudd, but what would happen if some other yahoo started driving the No. 88?
Then there was the Frontstretch No. 88 go-kart to consider. I spent some good coinage to get those graphics and numbers! What if say, Johnny Sauter had been stuck in the No. 88 of RYR? The guys at the track would have hounded me mercilessly and I would have been the laughingstock amongst all my fellow karters! Thankfully, Robert Yates has prevented all that from happening.
Earnhardt Jr. is a cool guy. He’s not my favorite driver, but I don’t dislike him either. Now with Jr. in the No. 88, people will look at my go kart and think I am a Jr. fan, and that I can live with. Not only that, but with the primary colors of my kart being green and purple, any Mountain Dew or Amp stickers I find will fit right in. Even my racing gloves, which are of course, printed with a big 88 on them, will still be fashionably accepted. Thank you Robert Yates.
Fortunately, my “88” problems are not as bad as some people may have. Consider all those that actually have a number 8 tattoo. Tattoos are usually strategically placed and for the most part centered on which ever body part they happen to be on. Simply adding another eight may not look right! Guys all over the country will be heading to the gym to bulk up a bicep to make room for the extra 8.
All in all, I’m very happy that Jr. will be driving the number 88. Of course, being an ‘old-school’ type of guy, my first association of the number 88 will always be Dale Jarrett but Dale Jr. is ok too. Actually, I consider myself very lucky, I could have been a Rusty Wallace/Miller Lite fan! I still feel sorry for all those guys!
Stay off the wall,