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Archive for April, 2009

One Statistic Shows Why The Juniors Need To Part Ways

Posted by Keith Murray on April 24, 2009

Rumors have been circulating that there is an imminent crew chief swap coming at Hendrick Motorsports. Mark Martin’s win may have only delayed the inevitable; or perhaps there are other plans in the works that don’t include the 5 team.

We have heard Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tell the NASCAR world for years that Tony Eury, Jr. is his crew chief and that he is family and that comes first. We all understand the importance of family, but there comes a point when you are on one of the largest sports stages in the world when you have to decide if you want to be a champion or continue on the path you’re on. My daddy had an old saying that was a play on Einstein’s quote – “Keep doin’ what’cher doin’, keep gettin’ what’cher gettin’.”

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but here is a little fact on NASCAR history. Junior’s dad won 7 championships and not once during those championship years did he have a close relative on the pit box making the calls every week. I know, I know. Junior has been with the Eury’s for a long time, and they are close friends and relatives. But there was a little stat that I uncovered when researching the history of these guys that paints the whole picture and puts it all in perspective – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has 18 career victories, and only two of those came with Tony Eury, Jr. on the pit box.

Listen, Tony Eury, Jr. is one of the most likeable guys you’ll ever see in an interview. I have never met him, so I cannot vouch for how he is personally, but he has a reputation as being just a good ol’ boy that knows a heck of a lot about cars and racing. I also think that the problem here is not with his abilities, but that the chemistry is just not there between those guys. Yes, they fuss at each other and try to motivate one another, but the stats don’t lie. It’s just not a successful racing relationship regardless of what it is off the track.

One also has to wonder how much more patience Rick Hendrick will have with the situation. He has known to be extremely patient while teams work out their nuances and problems. He was patient with Steve Letart and that has worked out after showing steady improvement the last couple of years. He even had to sit down and work out the differences with the two guys in the longest running driver/crew chief relationship in NASCAR – Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus. We have all heard heard of what a great manager and leader Rick Hendrick is, and he did not build his empire – in racing and in the business world – by not knowing how to deal with people and personalities. He knows what he’s doing and has the fat wallet to prove it. And you best believe that he will do what needs to be done. He wants 4 teams capable of winning week in and week out on the track, and that is just not the case right now.

So it all comes down to this – if Junior wants to take it to the next level and start contending for championships, something is going to have to give one way or another. Both of those guys can be successful in this sport and be among the best on the track in their perspective roles, I believe, but up to this point they have not been successful together. It is just as simple as them making a choice of whether to keep doin’ what they’ve been doin’, because we all know what that will get them.

Once again, please remember to pray for our troops around the world in harm’s way. And pray for our country in this tough time we are in. My stepdad just got laid off last week after 30 years with same company and numerous awards including 2006 company-wide Employee of the Year for a very large, nationally-known company, so that hit close to home for me. And most of all – bring on Talladega! Thanks for reading and God bless!

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