A Fistful of Juniors

Heather L. RuelleCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2008

Over the last couple of days, a lot of cannon fodder and jocularity has come out of the supposed rant that Dale Earnhardt Jr had with his boss, Rick Hendrick. Some have blown it out of proportion, saying Dale screamed into the radio about his tires being bad wanting car changes that weren't coming. Dale did want changes, but he was nowhere near a high octave range.

With that being said, Rick Hendrick agreed with him, to appease him maybe. However, it did calm the addled Dale Earnhardt Jr down.

I think the radio chatter was unsettling to some, and comedy to others. As for me, it was a boss keeping Dale "on the chip" as he put it, or as many of us have said, "on his toes." First thing, Dale had no idea Hendrick was at the track, and his voice showed his surprise. "How are you doing this from the couch?" Was the reply to him being there.

Mr. Hendrick being on the pit box, he brought his calming-zen like demeanor to that show, which is normally a verbal fistfight between the two Juniors. It never did accomplish anything. It made for Dale angrily wanting one thing, and Tony Jr doing the direct opposite.

A change needed to be made or Dale Jr would have probably lost Tony Jr on the pit box, a change that would only come up bad. The JR Nation was looking for the missing link between these two, because the explosive nature that is their relationship is baffling.

The JR Nation has been used to the angry approach of Dale Earnhardt Jr, and its unproductive results, for far too long. However, we have now found that missing link, in Rick Hendrick, to fix the broken chain. He taught the two Juniors how to use their anger in a positive way.

Before Dale got back on the radio, telling Rick he had thought about it, he might have been cussing a blue streak at Tony Jr. We can't be sure of that, but it is clear that Hendrick helped him channel his anger. The result: focused productivity.

Rick Hendrick said he may get lynched by fans for this; however, I praise him. I think it's a big deal because it involves Dale Earnhardt Jr, NASCAR's most popular, but that's beside the point. It has to do with a boss wanting a more productive and proactive team.

Rick Hendrick said he will be on the 88 pit box until the end of the Chase for the Cup. It's a welcome change to see an owner who is hands on with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Eury Jr.