It all started at the beginning of the 2007 season when Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, driver and son of the legendary team owner, bellowed out this statement to the NASCAR world: "Me and Teresa do not see eye to eye. I wish we did, but we don't."
While the rest of the NASCAR world couldn’t help themselves but to think about which team would have the honor of having the sport’s most popular driver in their garage, Earnhardt went on to say that, “I’m sad that I have to leave some employees that I got close to, leave some relationships.”
Earnhardt also added that, “The main factor is the ownership part, and it has nothing to do with money and nothing else. I want majority ownership, basically."
From that day on, until Earnhardt finally made the decision to jump aboard the Hendrick Motorsports train wreck, the newly inaugurated mayor of rumorville was officially sworn in by none other than Darrell Waltrip.
It was Waltrip who tossed the first rumor into the soon to be out of control mixing bowl, when he just about put Earnhardt into a seat at Richard Childress Racing.
“I’ve always thought RCR just because of the Childress-Earnhardt relationship,” said Waltrip of Richard Childress Racing, where the elder Earnhardt won six of his seven championships.
Waltrip also added that, “I personally have always thought the racing world would be right if Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the black No. 3 car.”
This was only the beginning, and before long the bowl quickly picked up speed and was out of control with Earnhardt having to ride this uncontrollable wave of emotion all on his own.
The rumors poured in on Earnhardt’s behalf, and it didn’t take long to notice that the mayor himself was beginning to feel the effects—especially once he found out he would not be bringing the number that meant so much to him along for the ride.
Now not only did he have to contend with where he would begin his new life, but which number, along with who his new sponsor would be, since he also found out that Budweiser would not be part of his new surroundings.
Earnhardt’s fans spent the better part of the year tossing rumor after rumor into the mixing bowl, and it wasn’t until Earnhardt made his first official start with his newly found family that the rumors were finally put to the rest.
Once the 2008 season began, Earnhardt probably thought he would never be put through such turmoil again, but unfortunately he was wrong and the mixing bowl was brought back to life, and he has once again found himself back in the familiar position of the mayor of rumorville.
Whether he is unhappy, having bad finishes, or doesn't like his current surroundings, the bottom line is all of these issues are keeping him in the media forefront, and it’s amazing at how many of the fans are playing along with trying to figure what his next move will be.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet has to be just as dumbfounded as the rest of the NASCAR community, especially when none of what is going theoretically concerns him.
This is supposed to be about Kasey Kahne, and not once has Earnhardt or Rick Hendrick ever mentioned Earnhardt's name about a possible move.
As a matter of fact, not even Hendrick himself has indicated where Kahne will end up, and its ironic how quickly the focus went from where Kahne will be driving next season, to where Earnhardt might end up.
Some of the most popular rumors have him going back to DEI, or to RCR where he will be united with his father’s old boss.
How many drivers have gotten this much attention when the chips are down?
How many drivers can have this type of season, and still know they will be the No. 1 driver talked about week after week?
All that doesn’t matter, because now it’s become more of a guessing game which we all love playing.
What makes all of this even more mysterious, is Earnhardt hasn’t said anything about leaving HMS, and Darrell Waltrip once again threw his opinion into the mix.
“If I was a team owner and my team was struggling, I’d make changes until I found someone that could make it work, what do you have to lose?”