It's time for my regular detour into auto racing. This month, my Crazy Woman Driver column explains why Rick Hendrick was right to dump Kyle Busch. You can check out the digital magazine here. (This direct link is being a bit cranky today; try refreshing if you get an error page. Or you can go the to Owner Operator's Web page and click the digital magazine link there.)
Once you get to the online version of the magazine, my column starts on page 36, or you can click the tease there on the upper left cover.
I love writing this column. But the one downside is that it's in an actual print publication.
That means space
So I'm talking advantage of the unlimited space of the Internet and printing below my full closing section on why,despite Kyle's strong start this season, Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) is much stronger with Junior.
All this talk of emotions brings me to my third reason why Rick was right to fire Kyle. It's a somewhat sappy reason, but it's the most compelling one: Rick puts the walk in NASCAR's talk about the sport being a family.
If you weren't moved by the press conference when Junior announced he would join HMS, you're the hardest hearted Earnhardt hater on the planet. That kid, and that's exactly what Dale looked like that day, was the epitome of ecstatic. After years of dealing with losing his dad way too soon and coping with a stepmom who reportedly never wanted him around the house or garage, Junior was beyond thrilled to be somewhere he was truly wanted.
And Rick, who had tragically lost his son Ricky, was at his paternal best, welcoming Junior not only as a business colleague, but also as a loving relative.
Sure, both men know full well that by working together they each are going to get even wealthier. But the real richness of this relationship is the affection they have not only for the sport, but for each other.
Kyle, himself a young man who could benefit immensely from such a trackside paternal surrogate arrangement -- and a good fatherly smack when necessary! -- obviously wants none of that. He already knows it all, so just get out of his way and let him run wild.
Rick Hendrick wisely heeded that message. And that's the real reason that he was absolutely, positively, 100 percent right in replacing Kyle with Junior.
Now it's back to the Pocono race. It looks like next year's newest HMS team member, Mark Martin, is showing what he's going to bring to his new team in 2009. Good for MM, but I'm still pulling for that 24 car to roll into Victory Lane!