Perhaps it was deja vu, but it seemed for a moment as I began typing this, that in a about an hour so, the Heluva Good at the Glen will tee of at the fabled road course at Watkins Glen. Something was clearly wrong, however. I could not put my finger on it at first….but something clearly was. And THAT was when I realized….
Despite their best efforts, the Endless Summer finally came to an end. It didn’t end with a bang, nor with a whimper, nor with anything that would leave a trace of their efforts. After the 15,496th running of the Sharpie 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway, where Kyle Busch won for the 15,496th time in a row, the Endless Summer simply came to an end. A small detail that my Observer made note of might have broken the time loop, and foiled the sinister plot. But that is open for judgment and interpretation; and since I am never one to let the facts get in the way of the truth, I will lay this out for your consideration as we proceed.
Suffice it to say for now, that both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick will be forced to race on into the oblivion and shame that awaits them after the checked flag drops at the Rock N Roll 400 in Richmond on September 12th. Junior is mired at 21st and Harvick at 24th in the Sprint Cup standings. The disarray that has haunted both of them this seson continues, although Junior seems to be making a little bit of headway as he adjusts to his new crew chief. Harvick, however is plainly disgruntled with his season, and with Richard Childress Racing which has pretty much transformed itself from a talented team whose drivers all made the Chase in 2008, to a dumpster fire of team this season where none of them, not even Monsieur Clint Bowyer who’s at 15th in the points, will make the Chase.
As for the legions of equally disgruntled Haruhi fans who’ve been drubbed by the seemingly quite literal endlessness of Endless 8, I simply have this to say: “Stop your whining!” Get beyond it if you must. Rise above it, if you can. Do your own imagineering, if you are capable. Doing, as they say, is honest philosophy. Make up your own damn story. Put on your pirate hats and find the buried treasure. Throw a 42-pak on the dashboard and pop an 8-track of Brian Eno’s TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN BY STRATEGY into the player and drive off into hot narcotic American night. Join hands with Junior Nation and blame it all on That Homo Jeff Gordon. Or if none of that works, hang your heads shame along with the Endless 8 production staff and call it a draw.
The alternative could very well be far worse. Butt Attack Punisher Girl Gautaman comes immediately to mind.
Or, you could have the NASCAR career of the aforementioned David Gillillillliland.
Was it just coincidence after all that Dale Earnhardt Jr was part of Endless Eight conspiracy? Not at all. Junior drives the #88 Amp Energy/National Guard Chevrolet for Hendrick Motor Sports. And before leaving the Evil Stepmother and joining the Evil Empire, he drove the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet for DEI. In Junior Nation, 8 is everywhere, and everything. But something else very significant occurred during the 15,496th running of the Sharpie 500.
This is the small detail my Observer made note of.
“Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 27th for all 15,496 runnings of the Food City 500 at Bristol. He finished 8th in each of the first 15,495 Food City 500’s. In the 15,496th running of the Food City 500, he finished 9th.”
And that was it. The spell was broken in the 15,496th hour by Jimmie Johnson and his damned ability.
Now it DID take 15,532 tries for Kyon and Haruhi and the SOS Brigade to break the spell that Kyoto Animation placed on them. And it was homework and not Jimmie Johnson and his damned ability.
But now, the world moves on, and Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have to face their penultimate doom this season. Neither will make the Chase and they will remain mired in mediocrity for the remainder of the season.
Junior, of course, has Junior Nation to fall back on. They will love him no matter what. They will note every his every move with alacrity. They will blame everything that goes awry on That Homo Jeff Gordon (even though Gordon is his teammate).
Harvick, however has no Harvick Nation to prop him up like a false idol or to burn Kyle Bush Voodoo Dolls on his behalf. Although there is a rumour of a Pennzoil Posse out there, it’s really just some goofy fan with a terrible MySpace page.
So there’s no one really no one to pour water on the dumpster fire raging around Harvick and what might be his last days at Richard Childress Racing. New crew chiefs and other shakeups at Childress are really more akin to putting a different pair of trousers on a dog. At the end of the day, it’s just a dog wearing a pair of trousers, or something equally ridiculous.
“In all 15,496 runnings of the Food City 500, finished in 38th completing only 438 laps. In the 15,496th running, and in most of the others, Harvick was involved in a wreck on the frontstretch with Casey Mears, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer & Brian Vickers. But in 1,298 runnings, Harvick’s departure from the race on lap 438 was due to a blown engine. In the the 3,579th and the 6,882nd running of the Food City 500, Harvick’s departure on lap 438 was due to a transmission problem.”
Well, to be honest, if was a betting man, I would place all my money on #3. The ghost and legacy of #3.
Both Harvick and Junior are inextricably bound up in, and by, the Death and Legacy of Dale Earnhardt. Junior has always raced in his father’s mighty shadow. It’s as daunting a task to live up to as anyone could imagine…a task made even more daunting by his father’s death. ((As an aside, Kyle Petty has also had to race in the mighty shadow of HIS father’s legacy….but unlike Junior…it was the legacy of a living legend)). Until he switched to the Evil Empire, aka Hendrick Motorports, Junior always drove for DEI, the company his Father founded. Junior, I suppose has done the best he can with the circumstances and his talents. But I’m sure everyone will agree that perhaps there’s a well of talent he has yet to tap. Whether he has the will to tap that remains to be seen.
Harvick doesn’t have the legacy of Dale Earnhardt to live up to, but he’s had the Ghost of Dale Earnhardt riding along with him for every lap of his career. After all, the #29 Pennzoil Chevrolet he drives for Richard Childress is the #3 Goodwrench Chevrolet ride he inherited when Dale Earnhardt died at the conclusion of the Daytona 500 in 2001 when he did a very un-Dale Earnhardt-like thing by blocking for his son Junior and his driver Michael Waltrip so Waltrip and Junior could finish 1-2 for DEI. Harvick has had that ghost haunting him ever since. Like Junior, he’s done very well at times, but true greatness has eluded him. And unlike Junior, he does not get the automatic popularity Junior gets, by birth.
I’ve always referred to Kevin Harvick as That Lout Kevin Harvick. It’s not that I dislike him, but his personality has a way of grating on people….plus he lacks the brazen I dont give a fock what you think jackassery of Kyle Busch ((plus Kyle is a FAR better driver…but that’s not the point)). But I do have a respect for him, and it would be a better NASCAR world if he would do well and be more competitive.
Ultimately, both Harvick and Junior would be better served if they could complete step out the shadow that the late Dale Earnhardt casts upon them.
Harvick has the best chance. He can step out of the #29 for good. Leave Richard Childress Racing forever. There is another world out there and most any team would sign him in a heartbeat. Harvick also has his own racing team that has been quite successful in the Nationwide and Truck series. As owners, Kevin and his wife Delaina have done quite well. But a different team where he can get away from Dale Earnhardt for good would be the best thing he could do.
As for Junior, there is NO escape for him. His father’s legacy will follow him forever and ever wherever he goes. He left DEI, the company his father started, and no raced for Rick Hendrick. Unlike Harvick, who can eventually escape, Junior will always have the shadow of his father looming over him. I will say, that all things considered, Junior has handled all this very well. It is very admirable how he goes about his business, for the most part. But it’s obviously wearing on him. I hope he can get over the hump and finally win that championship that has eluded him. But I’m not going to bet on it.
Like Harvick, Junior also has his own racing team. He has a tremendous eye for talent. He’s the one who discovered Brad Kesolowski and nurtured him through the Nationwide series. Brad is making the jump to Cup next season with Penske, replacing David Stremme in the #12 Dodge. Junior’s next protege at JR Motorsports is going to be Wisconsin’s own Kelly Bires. Perhaps what Junior needs to do is the very thing Kyle Petty didn’t do for way too many years, is step aside from the car and build a legacy as an owner. But we all know that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Junior as a franchise is ironically FAR more valuable with him as a modestly successful driver than it would ever be with him as a fabulously successful team owner.
Nope. Sorry to report that Danica Patrick will not be saving NASCAR anytime soon.
I’m getting the strange feeling that I am missing something…. A race. YES!! The Nationwide race from Curcuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal! I wonder who is winning. Maybe I’ve missed it. Well…I’d guess I’d better be off to watch what’s happened. This is a take. Rack me. I’m out.