Does anyone remember when Rick Hendrick, when questioned about possibly adding Dale Earnhardt Jr. to his team in 2008, replied that, "There's no more room at the inn?" Yet a few short weeks later, there sat Junior next to his new owner at Hendrick Motorsports, ready to tackle a new chapter in each of their lives.
When Brad Keselowski announced last season that he would be moving to Penske Racing, it was said that Keselowski was "on-loan" to Penske and would eventually find a home at Hendrick Motorsports.
Now this year, Hendrick has signed Kasey Kahne to drive for the team in 2012...but now he is on loan to Red Bull Racing for the 2011 season.
So just precisely how large is Rick Hendrick's Inn? Whenever there does not appear to be room for another driver, it miraculously becomes larger almost as if it has magical properties.
Is it part of a larger attempt by Hendrick to have a stake in all drivers in the sport? Or is this inn a proverbial black hole in the sport?
I spent weeks attempting to locate this inn in the hopes of discovering the secrets to its power. Accumulating tips from across the country, I finally located the inn in a back alley of a restaurant in Billings, Montana.
Montana you say? What other place would be well suited to hiding one of the most powerful, mythical forces in the sport. Upon inspection of the inn, I found the following:
- A mason jar labeled: Carl Edward's Common Sense.
- A mason jar labeled: Mark Martin's Youth,
- A book entitled, "Kyle Busch's Guide to Media Perception."
- Harry Gant.
- Kurt Busch's original ears.
- Jeff Gordon's mustache.
- Terry Labonte's mustache.
- Kyle Petty's country music video.
- Brian France autographed 'NASCAR for Dummies' book.
- Contract rights to Leo Gordon for the 2028 Sprint Cup season.
- The Apollo 11 moon "landing" site.
- Jimmy Hoffa.
- A collection of Matt Kenseth robots.
- Geoff Bodine's original hairline.
- Construction plans for the Great Pyramid of Giza.
- Jimmy Spencer's career.
- Picture of a tattoo above the small of Hendrick's back depicting his championship trophies.
- Jeff Gordon's first pre-nup.
- Jimmie Johnson's first eyebrow razor.
And finally, Dale Earnhardt Jr's self-confidence
The sheer amount of historic material located within Rick Hendrick's Inn explains the draw of it for so many drivers. If anything, the possibility of seeing Hendrick's tramp stamp-like tattoo is well worth a contract.
Rumor has it that is the real reason Kahne is joining the team in 2011. And really, could you blame him?