Is There A Change In Dale Jr’s Future?


(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

After the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress were joking when they announced that they had formed a joint company in order to put Darrel Waltrip back into a race car.  Quite honestly a meeting of those two minds isn’t a bad idea.  Childress and Hendrick ought to put their minds together to solve a problem that is clearly growing, that of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports.

It is obvious that the Earnhardt-Hendrick equation has not added up in 2 1/2 years.  Junior has only won two races for HMS, the 2008 Bud Shootout and the June 2008 Michigan race.

The shape of thing to come may appear to be nebulous right now, but there may be clues to what the future may hold for Dale,Jr.

Last September Austin Dillon, Richard Childress’ grandson, made his Camping World Truck Series debut at Iowa Speedway driving a black # 3 Chevy Silverado.  Even though the paint scheme commemorated the 40th anniversary of RCR in NASCAR, it was eerily reminiscent of the black #3 Goodwrench Chevy by Dale Earnhardt,Sr.  The bottom line is that the black #3 was back on the race track in one of NASCAR’s elite series.

In late April there was an announcement that Dale,Jr. would drive the #3 Wrangler Chevy in the July Daytona Nationwide race.  The paint scheme is a replica of the blue and yellow Wrangler car that Dale,Sr. drove before the Goodwrench sponsorship.

Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhart, Inc., and JR Motorsports are jointly putting this deal together and all have a piece of this action.  RCR is the owner of record, Jr Motorsports will build and prepare the car, Hendrick will supply the motors.

If introducing the #3 into the truck and nationwide series was the start, then the next logical step seems obvious.  An Earnhardt in the #3 RCR Chevy would solve a litany of impending problems, maybe after an interim move to JR Motorsports for 2011.  That would solve the question of Kahne’s ride in 2011.

However, is Hendrick willing to sell his interest in Jr Motorsports?  That would be required if JR Motorsports were to have a Sprint Cup team in 2011.  Is the Wrangler #3 truly a “one off” deal?  Is Childress really interested in making that kind of move?  Is Dale,Jr really serious about not moving his Nationwide team up to the Sprint Cup level?  Is this a move that Dale,Jr. really would contemplate, moving back into his father’s shadow in the black #3?

What do you think about these scenarios?


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