Stop The World And Let Earnhardt Jr Off

“I took Carl Belew and W.S. Stevenson’s song titled Stop the World (and let me off), and I tweaked it for Dale Earnhardt Jr.. It goes a little something like this:

Stop the world and let me off.
I’m tired of going round and round
I’ve raced the last two years and lost
So stop the world and let me off.

My fan’s dreams are shattered don’t you see
Now that Kyle raced hard inside of me
I miss the 1st place trophy kiss
How could you race me hard like this?

Stop the world and Let me off
I’m tired of going round and round
I’ve raced the last two years and lost
So stop the world and let me off.

[BTW, I like Waylon Jennings’s version of that song the best.]

Note: The following is a rant. As such, objectives such as grammar and being succinct have been left at the log-in page. There may even be a typo or two. ;)

dale earnhardt jr national guard richmond don lowry 400It simply amazes me the amount of anger Earnhardt Nation has been spewing on forums and blogs (and probably even a water tower or two) stemming from the incident between Dale Jr. and Kyle Busch this weekend in Richmond. The simple fact is that what happened was nothing more than a product of Saturday night short track racing and it was a racing incident, period! Furthermore, this incident was so mild by short track racing standards that those who think it was Kyle’s intent to wreck Jr. must be befuddled! I think many members of Jr. Nation (as well as the “We Just Hate Kyle Legionnaires”) are really looking for a reason to cry foul here.

I think some people need to take another good hard look at the video of the race. Larry McReynolds comment about Kyle’s tires being turned to the right ever so slightly just really got me. I couldn’t believe my ears when he said it. If you’ve been watching automobile racing for any length of time, or if you’ve ever driven a sports car in a performance environment, you’d know that when the back comes loose and tries to come around to the right you counter it with the steering to the right. Larry Mac knows this!

Some of the comments people have been posting are that Kyle didn’t give Jr. enough room or that he went in too high in the corner. Excuse me, but if you go back and watch the few laps even before the accident you’ll see Kyle is pretty darn consistent where he takes that inside line. For what it’s worth, Bowyer and Martin were following the same line which was a couple feet up front the crease or banking and apron line. It wasn’t until the turn 3 that Kyle got loose on the inside and went up higher into Jr. who had himself brought his line down the track.

Still others (many who have thought it wasn’t intentional on Kyle’s part) have said that Kyle shouldn’t have been pushing it that hard at that point in the race. Again, excuse me, but they were already at 3 to go the very first time Kyle was able to get up along side of Jr.. The incident itself was the only contact between the two cars. Kyle had not been rubbing on Jr.’s rear end! Jr. wasn’t blocking Kyle from taking a low or high line either. The two drivers were not banging each other’s doors, nor rubbing fenders, nor trading paint, or anything of the sort. Kyle didn’t rub up along Jr.’s car to move him up out of a line either. In other words, this was NOT a bump-n-run attempt, period! Both Kyle and Dale Jr. commented right after the race that if that’s what Kyle wanted to do, it could have been done already or it could have been done such that Kyle would at least be in the lead and wind up winning the race.

What really gets me the most by many fans is that there seems to be an expectation out there that if Kyle (or any other driver for that matter) is racing Jr. for position, then they need to use some extra or different level of caution in doing so. Say what?! Why the hell should Kyle, or any other driver, have to race more cautiously around Jr. than they do any other driver? Just because he is Dale Jr. and he inherited most (if not all) of Dale Sr.’s fans? I say “Malarkey!” The last thing I want to see are these drivers out there riding around and racing at 8/10ths effort or ability just because they’re around Jr.. I can’t imagine Dale Jr. wanting that either. That would be like handicapping the field when they’re around him.

Dale is a racer, and a damn good one too. Of course he’s disappointed and so are his fans. But this folks was nothing more than hard racing on a short track on a Saturday night, and the intensity of the incident itself was MILD by short track standards. It also just happens that there is an interesting dynamic between the these two drivers. They both had something to prove. Earnhardt wants to show he is the real deal in the HMS car and get back to winning races. Kyle wants to prove he is in a better situation now with his new team and show it by beating his old car/team.

I’ll pull the plug on my rant by saying that there have been many occasions where Kyle Busch has done something incredibly stupid on the track and deserved the ire of fans and drivers alike (I’m sure he’ll do something again real soon). Since he first came into the Cup series he has been one of the drivers that I have disliked the most because of some of his antics. However, I can not find fault in his performance at Richmond. I certainly can understand the disappointment that both Jr. and all of his fans felt last night. That’s not an easy pill to swallow when they were so very close. If they want to hate and boo Kyle Busch, then that’s fine too. The sport thrives on rivalries and passion for different drivers. I just hope everyone has enough common sense and nobody does anything stupid (such as all the talk about needing security, etc.). In the end everyone needs to remember that it’s racing and the world keeps on turning no matter how much you may want it to stop and let you off.”