High School Musical Could Help Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s Daytona Downfall

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IFebruary 16, 2009

One of "Disney's High School Musical" signature songs is entitled "Get'cha Head in the Game". 

The song comes at a time in the film when the lead character Troy, captain of the school basketball team, is reprimanded by the coach, who happens to be Troy's father, to get his head in the game and focus.

It seems that Troy has his mind on other things in his life, like singing in the school musical and concentrating on a special girl. He is so distracted that he even forgets to show up for basketball practice. Letting down his entire team, and most importantly, his own dad.

So, what does "High School Musical" have to do with NASCAR? 

This past weekend was NASCAR's biggest game: the Daytona 500. The race signals the kickoff to the brand new race season.

Like Troy with his basketball team, every driver in the Daytona 500 needs to have his head fully in the game. With speeds upwards of 180 miles per hour, one momentary lapse of concentration can be disastrous for that driver, as well as others on the track.

Unfortunately, NASCAR's most popular driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just did not seem to have his head in the game all-Sunday long. 

Early on in the race, Junior came into pit and completely missed his pit stall.  Even though his crew chief was counting him down, Earnhardt said he just lost focus and that all the pit signs suddenly blurred together, looking exactly alike.

This lapse in concentration cost Junior precious time as he had to come down one more time in order to actually get in and complete his pit stop.

Then, it happened again. 

With another error in judgement, Junior pitted over the outside line in his pit stall, a definite "no-no" in NASCAR pit stops 101.

This mental error cost the team a lap as Earnhardt sat frustrated in his pit serving the penalty. 

Junior had to line up on the inside of the lead lap cars. Well aware that he would either have to race his way back onto the lead lap, or hope for a caution and get the "lucky dog".

These two mental errors seemed to nag at Junior and then led to the final, most disastrous lapse in concentration. 

As Junior was racing madly against Brian Vickers to be in position to get his lap back, he hooked Vickers and the "big one" was on.

When the dust and dirt settled, the "big one" had collected over ten drivers. Many of them, including Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch, had been in contention for the race lead.

Whoever's fault this final wreck was, and it will be debated all week no doubt, it all boiled down to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just being off his game, for whatever reason, at this year's running of the "Great American Race".

So, Dale Junior, you've got to learn this most valuable lesson from High School Musical:

U gotta

Get'cha get'cha head in the game

You gotta

Get'cha, get'cha, get'ch, get'cha head in the game.